By: Joe Strupp
The Galveston (Texas) County Daily News is planning to file a formal complaint over the detention of one of its photographers and an attempt by police to review his photographs taken near a Texas City oil refinery, the newspaper’s editor told the Houston Chronicle.
“The newspaper was consulting with its attorneys and drawing up a complaint about the 45-minute detention Monday of photographer Kevin Cox by the Texas City Police Department, Editor Heber Taylor said,” according to the Chronicle. “Taylor said the newspaper was concerned that the department’s liaison with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force tried to cajole Cox into showing him photographs taken of Marathon refinery employees cleaning up a minor oil spill.”
“Attempting to view a journalist’s photographs before they are published violates the First Amendment restriction on restraining publication,” Taylor told the Chronicle.
Houston Chronicle Director of Photography Steve Gonzales said in the story that Chronicle photographers would not allow photos to be viewed by law enforcement prior to publication without first discussing it with legal staff.
“Cox said he took 32 photos from the public road and immediately moved his car when a Marathon security officer claimed it was parked on Marathon property,” the Chronicle reported. “Cpl. Tom Robison, the Texas City police FBI liaison, tried to convince Cox to show him the photos, but Cox said he refused, saying they were the property of the Daily News and that he was not authorized to show them.”
Cox told the Chronicle that Police Chief Robert Burby arrived, handed a cell phone to Robison, who spoke with a Daily News editor, and then allowed Cox to leave.