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Cop Charged With Falsifying Records in Arrest of NY Times Photographer

By Ben Fractenberg | August 26, 2013 5:37pm
 New York Times freelance photographer Robert Stolarik.
New York Times freelance photographer Robert Stolarik.
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THE BRONX — A police officer who arrested a New York Times freelance photographer last August was indicted on charges he falsified records about the incident, the Bronx District Attorney's Office said Monday.

Officer Michael Ackermann, 30, who works out of the 44th Precinct, wrote in his report that shooter Robert Stolarik obstructed government administration when he repeatedly fired his flash in the officer's face while he was making an unrelated arrest, according to the DA's office.

Witnesses told investigators there was no flash attached to Stolarik's camera, prosecutors said, adding that investigators also analyzed the photos taken during the arrest and determined no flash was used.

Stolarik, who has worked for The Times for more than a decade, was photographing the arrest of a teenage girl at McClellan Street and Sheridan Avenue about 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 4, The Times reported on Aug. 5, 2012.

An officer reportedly ordered Stolarik to stop taking photographs of the arrest. He then identified himself as a Times photographer and continued shooting, according to the story.

A second officer then appeared, grabbed his camera and "slammed" it into his face, The Times reported.

Stolarik was then reportedly dragged to the ground and arrested.

Ackermann was indicted by a grand jury on charges including falsifying business records, tampering with public records and official misconduct.

He was arraigned in Bronx Supreme Court Monday and released on his own recognizance. If convicted, Ackermann faces a maximum sentence of seven years on the most serious charge.

A lawyer for Ackermann did not respond to an immediate request for comment.

All charges against Stolarik, who declined to comment, were eventually dismissed.

"We are pleased that officials in the Bronx took a serious look at this case and brought an indictment after finding police misconduct," The Times said in statement. "We remain troubled that the arrest of the photographer, Robert Stolarik, was made in the first place."