NEW YORK CITY POLICE OFFICER CHARGED WITH FALSIFYING OFFICIAL RECORDS IN ORDER TO JUSTIFY A WRONGFUL ARREST OF A NEW YORK TIMES PHOTOGRAPHER
Bronx District Attorney Robert T. Johnson announced today the arrest and indictment of a New York City Police Officer in connection with the improper arrest of a New York Times photographer in August 2012.
Police Officer Michael Ackermann was charged by a grand jury with Falsifying Business Records in the First and Second Degrees, Tampering with Public Records in the First and Second Degrees, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First and Second Degrees, Official Misconduct, and Making a Punishable False Written Statement. Ackermann is facing a maximum sentence of up to 7 years imprisonment if convicted of the most serious charge, Tampering with Public Records in the First Degree, a Class D felony offense.
The charges in the indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Ackermann, 30, was arraigned before Acting State Supreme Court Justice Steven Barrett and was released on his own recognizance.
It is alleged that Officer Ackermann, who was assigned to the 44th Precinct, fabricated the circumstances that led to the arrest of a freelance photographer on assignment for the New York Times on August 4, 2012. Ackermann is accused of falsely claiming that the photographer interfered with the arrest of a juvenile by repeatedly discharging the camera’s flash in Ackermann’s face thereby blinding him and preventing him from performing his duties. An investigation of the incident determined that there was no flash attached to the photographer’s camera at the time of the incident and that the camera could not discharge a flash without an attachment. An examination of the photographs that were taken also revealed that no flash was used and none of the other witnesses to the incident, police or civilian, reported seeing the photographer’s camera discharging a flash. All charges against the photographer stemming from this incident were subsequently dismissed.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Robert Caliendo of the Rackets Bureau.