Calif. photographer cleared of charges

CALIFORNIA — Charges were dropped against a Sacramento City College student photographer who was arrested while covering an anti-war protest in San Francisco. 

Nick Varanelli, who works for The Express student newspaper, was arrested along with 2,300 other people during March anti-war protests in downtown San Francisco. He said police would not accept his newspaper-issued press pass. 

Varanelli was charged with rioting and blocking traffic, which the Superior Court of San Francisco reduced to three traffic infractions. In mid-June the district attorney dismissed those charges against Varanelli, along with 400 other people, because of insufficient evidence. 

“I was upset that they weren’t dropped because I was a reporter, but that they were dropped because everyone’s were dropped,” he said. “It is too bad they didn’t acknowledge that the student press should get the same benefits as corporate media.” 

Dewayne Tully, a police spokesperson, said in March that the standards applied to professional journalists do not always apply to students.n