Sunday, August 19, 2007

Show Some Respect!

I was sitting at my desk when a call about a shooting on Sprague Street came over the scanner. I grabbed Janelle, the Sunday reporter, and sped towards the scene. Since it wasn't far from the office I thought I might be able to get some good shots. As we pulled up to the area, I knew I was right.

The first thing we saw were two guys running the other way. We got out of the car, and took pictures of a group of people near some police cars who were crying and screaming. We went further up the street to the edge of the police tape and I could see paramedics performing what appeared to be CPR on a victim who was laying in the weeds. I took more pictures, and nearby officers let me do my thing.

Then the emergency personnel put the man on a stretcher and started wheeling him down the street towards an ambulance and directly at me. I made sure I was still out of the way and put on my wide angle lens and kept snapping away. Just as they passed me I began to hear footsteps pounding on the pavement and somebody yelling "Hey! Hey!"

Before I knew it an officer was screaming in my face about how I had to move back, how I had to show respect, etc. Janelle and I quickly went where he told us to, but he continued to yell for a few minutes. I've never been confronted by any Shreveport police officers before, and I wasn't sure how to react. I wasn't out of line. I told him we would never run any pictures of dead people - or even of blood, for that matter - and that I was just doing my job. I'm not sure what he said to that. All I know is that in these situations I shoot first and ask questions later. I didn't know at the time what the status of the guy was. I still don't. But I'd rather have the shot and not be able to use it than to not have the shot at all.

I don't have any hard feelings against the officer. He was also trying to do his job, trying to control the situation. I just wish he would have gone about it in a different way and I hope that it doesn't happen quite like that again.

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