CHICAGO, IL (May 21, 2012) – At least one photographer was arrested and another struck over the head with a police baton late Sunday while covering anti-war protesters marching in opposition to the NATO summit in Chicago.
Details are sparse, but photographs posted on Twitter and other Web sites show Getty Images freelance photographer Joshua Lott being arrested on Sunday night,while another photograph shows Getty's Scott Olson with blood streaming down his face after being hit with a Chicago police baton.
Sixty heads of state gathered in Chicago for a two-day NATO meeting to discuss the war in Afghanistan and other global defense issues. Reports say more than 2,500 journalists are there to cover the thousands of protesters who converged on the NATO meeting. Chicago's police responded to the influx of protesters and reporters by deploying thousands of police clad in riot gear, not only Chicago officers but also police pulled in from departments outside of the city.
NPPA's lawyer Mickey H. Osterreicher joined forces with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to support a hotline for journalists arrested or assaulted while covering NATO protesters.
NPPA's lawyer was allowed to meet with Lott in an attorney interview room to let the photojournalist know that NPPA was there and working on his release, and Osterreicher then waited outside a Chicago police station for Lott until he was released shortly before 4 a.m. Monday morning.
Osterreicher said that for the most part, outside of Sunday night's late clash that included Lott, the Chicago police had been "very restrained" in dealing with photographers.
Calls and emails to Getty Images at the editorial picture desk in New York asking for more information have not been answered. Unconfirmed reports say that Lott's cameras were smashed by police, and that while he had been originally arrested on a more serious charge it had been reduced to a lesser charge before he was released on a personal bond.
The photograph posted on Twitter by The Toronto Star of Lott being arrested was credited to Spencer Platt.
There will be more NATO protests in Chicago on Monday.
Related: Department of Justice Warns Police Against Violating Photographers' Rights