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Police accuse video journalist as stealing her own camera (1999) by Paul O'connal

Yet another video journalist from Undercurrents productions has been arrested while reporting Environmental protests. Undercurrents employee, Charlotte Wilcox was reporting on the protests against Rail privatisation/WTO in London on November 30th.

Police in riot dress surrounded journalists and demonstraters alike and detained them for hours until groups of police officers sent in "snatch squads" to pick out and search individuals. Ms Wilcox was bundled outside the police cordon and subjected to a search and verbally threatened by police officers.

Her video camera , tapes and equipment was taken from her and the female officer who searched Ms Wilcox threatened to "throw her down and break her back".

Charlotte Wilcox said "This was not about justice or the law, this was about gathering as much information about citizens involved in demonstrating. The police made no attempts to verify that I was an employee of Undercurrents productions. I was arrested only because I had a video camera which the police figured would increase their infomation gathering. I intend to sue the police for this gross injustice."

Ms Wilcox was arrested on suspicion of stealing a video camera and taken to Islington police station and held until 5am the next morning and turned out on the London street. No property sheet was given for the seizure of her property.

Director of undercurrents productions, Paul O' Connor said- "This arrest follows a long line of harrassment of news gatherers this year. Working with the National Union of Journalists we have recorded over 16 cases of journalists who have been arrested while reporting on environment issues. One video journalist, Roddy Mansfield who has worked with Undercurrents has been arrested 10 times in the last 2 years. His equipment and tapes are seized only to held until his deadlines are passed and then he is released later without charge. This is news management by the police and it totally against the priniciples of Press freedom. Charlottes arrest is just a continuation of that abuse of power."

The police agreed to return the camera and tapes tomorrow.