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Student Cuffed, Charged After Filming Cop Writing a Ticket

Student Cuffed, Charged After Filming Cop Writing a Ticket

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- A broadcast journalism student at Brigham Young University faces charges of trespassing and interfering with a public servant after he tried to videotape a campus policeman as he issued a citation to another student for jaywalking.

Clif Kelly says he identified himself as a student journalist working on a story and complied when the officer asked him to back up. But when Kelly refused to cross the street, the campus officer called for backup.

Kelly says he was handcuffed and taken to a university holding cell. Now he has a Dec. 20 court date.

"I had no idea where it was going to go," Kelly said. "The officer stepped into my face and told me turn the camera off, and I said 'This is ridiculous; you do your job and I'll do mine. I'm within my rights as a journalist."'

The incident began when another broadcast journalism student, Karley Nelson, was crossing Campus Drive on her way to the Wilkinson Center and was stopped by a BYU officer.

Nelson said the officer warned her and the other student against jaywalking, and then let her go. Nelson said she then walked into the Wilkinson Center, where she decided the officer had been rude. She returned to ask the officer for his name.

"He wrote a citation with a $50 fine and signed his name at the bottom and said to me, 'Here's my name,' " she said.

It was at that point that Kelly saw Nelson, whom he knew, and started filming. "I had a camera handy," Kelly said.

Kelly said he not only verbally identified himself to the officer several times as a NewsNet student, but also handed a second officer his NewsNet identification card and his BYU student ID.

University spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said the citation was issued "based on behavior of the student. It should be remembered that NewsNet is a university operation, a student lab, not an independent newspaper. This is a learning experience for our students and we will be looking at this from a university standpoint."

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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