Photog Claims Damages from CalTrans, CHP for Arrest, False Report

February 5, 2014

The California Highway Patrol lied in reports when it violated the First Amendment rights of news photographer Steve Eberhard by illegally arresting him to intimidate newsgatherers at a protest site in July 2013, Eberhard says in a legal claim against CHP and Caltrans.

Eberhard asserts that, in a letter responding to the Society of Environmental Journalists' August 7, 2013, complaint about Eberhard's arrest, the CHP falsely stated that he had been part of an environmentalists' protest against a highway overpass, and that protesters had left the site when he was arrested. Eberhard's version is supported by video evidence.

Eberhard's claim says that the California and U.S. Constitutions give journalists the "rights to gather news for dissemination to the public on important matters of public interest, to photograph peace officers in the performance of their duties."

Although Eberhard was arrested by CHP, prosecutors did not find enough merit in the CHP charges to file them.