MISSOURI — A Missouri student photojournalist has been given achance to have all charges dismissed after being cited for his conduct whilephotographing a fire.
Andrew Worrall was summoned to appear January 12, 2010, in ColumbiaMunicipal Court on charges of being a disorderly person at a fire on September10, 2009, in Columbia, Missouri.
Judge Robert D. Aulgur entered a suspended sentence at the January 12hearing according to Worrall’s attorney, Russell Still.
“In order to have a conviction you have to have a final order of thecourt, of the judge, and the judge is saying he’s not doing that,he’s not imposing any sentence,” said Still.
Worrall was placed on two years of temporary probation.
“The case is just held there to see what happens and if he [Worrall]doesn’t have any violations, which I don’t think he will, then thecase is dismissed,” said Still, who represented Worrall pro-bono as aStudent Press Law Center referral attorney.
During the hearing, Columbia Fire Captain Larry Curtis testified that theassistant fire chief told Worrall to move back away from the scene to where therest of the public was standing. Worrall moved back a few feet and the assistantfire chief asked him to move further back and Worrall said he did not have to,said Still.
Worrall testified that his response to the assistant fire chief was that hehad the right to be there.
“If journalists have the perception that their access is beingunnecessarily restricted by law enforcement on the scene, the right response isto object once, then comply and have the conversation later with theofficer’s superiors,” said Adam Goldstein, attorney advocate of theStudent Press Law Center.
Worrall is a photojournalism student at the University of Missouri, seniorstaff photographer of the university’s newspaper, The Maneater, anda trained volunteer firefighter.