Julia Xanthos after being handcuffed.
News photographer arrested, let go
By Lucas Mann
On the afternoon of Thurs., May 24, heavy smoke began billowing out of Café Amores Pizza restaurant at 104 E. 14th St. A man who identified himself as the restaurants owner, but declined to give his name, said that a fire on the roof by a ventilation fan pushed smoke and fire into the pizzeria. Fire trucks and emergency vehicles converged on the scene, closing off the block for several hours.
Thirty minutes into the commotion, a woman was lying on the sidewalk being treated by paramedics, and a news photographer snapped a single photograph before being immediately told to stop by the police. Another photographer, Julia Xanthos from the Daily News, entered the scene, was told by the same officer to stop taking photos, and responded by displaying her working press credentials. In the next moments, she was handcuffed by Officer John Evans of the Ninth Precinct and placed under arrest.
According to a news photographer who witnessed the scene, Xanthos was not close enough to the paramedics to interfere with their work and was merely asserting that she had every right to be there. The accuracy of Xanthoss assertions were eventually realized by the police, but not until she had been taken to the precinct on E. Fifth St.
According to Jennifer Mauer, communications director of the Daily News, once at the precinct, the arrest was immediately recognized as wrong and the handcuffs were taken off.
There was just a misunderstanding at the initial emergency response, Mauer said. At the station, they realized she [Xanthos] was within her First Amendment rights, the arrest was voided, and she was released immediately.
Officer Evans could not be reached by press time, nor could Deputy Inspector Dennis DeQuatro, the Ninth Precincts commanding officer.
In May 2003, The Villagers Ramin Talaie profiled Evans as he was serving in Iraq in the U.S. Army Reserve.