NewsChannel 13 (Alb, NY) Crew Threatened with Arrest for Filming
(Video Credit NewsChannel 13) ….
WILTON – A NewsChannel 13 crew was threatened with arrest on Thursday.
It happened as they were working on a story about the historic Grant Cottage in Wilton where President Ulysses S. Grant spent his final days.
The cottage is located on Mount McGregor near the now-closed correctional facility. Corrections employees who are still working at the empty prison made every attempt to stop Mark Mulholland from doing his job.
He says in more than 20 years in the business, he’s rarely encountered anything quite like this.
Grant’s Cottage is located at the top of Mount McGregor. Wednesday was the 129th anniversary of the death here of President Ulysses S. Grant.
NewsChannel 13 shot some of the re-enactment yesterday and Mark and his crew were assigned to go back there Thursday to get some additional shots.
As they were doing a piece on-camera, in the shadows of the empty Mount McGregor prison an empty car came speeding towards them.
A man who identified himself as a corrections lieutenant came speeding towards the crew in a car.
Photographer Matt Soriano and Mark Mulholland spoke with the lieutenant.
“No filming,” said the officer.
“We’re doing a story on Grant’s Cottage,” Mark tried to explain.
“It doesn’t matter,” the officer continued. After a few more exchanges he then said “You’re going to leave the mountain now.”
“You’re telling us we can’t visit a historic site?” Mark asked.
“No, you’re going to have to run that through Albany,” the officer replied, saying we were on state ground.
“Look, I’m not going to go around with you on this. You’re going to leave the property.”
So our crew proceeded to make its way closer to Grant’s Cottage.
However, another corrections employee parked his car across the road, denying and blocking our crew’s access to the historic site.
After several minutes, he moves his car to allow other visitors to get to and from Grant’s Cottage, and slowly inching his car along in front of our crew. Ironically, once there, we noticed a film crew, apparently filming a movie on the grounds of the closed prison.
On our way back down the mountain, as we attempted to leave, Corrections Lt. Doran had called the state police and ask them to detain us, and demanded our video.
“If I’m a member of the public, and I’m taking pictures of Grant’s Cottage, and there’s a facility right behind it…”
“If we’re aware that facility is in the background, those photos will be confiscated,” the officer said.
Lt. Doran told the crew if they didn’t hand over the tape they would be arrested.
After roughly an hour and calls between newsroom leadership, state police, and Department of Corrections, our crews were allowed to leave without surrendering the video.
The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
released a statement to NewsChannel 13 late Thursday afternoon that
“We regret that this situation escalated, however the
WNYT news crew blatantly disregarded a state officer who informed them
they were trespassing. Department regulations state that photographs
taken while on Prison property require prior permission. This policy is
for the safety of all staff, visitors and prisoners.”
NewsChannel 13 wants to point out that our crew tried to leave the grounds, and there are no prisoners at the facility.