Police handcuff news crew covering traffic accident
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Wednesday April 22, 2009

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When El Paso tv reporter Darren Hunt was asked in a recent interview how he enjoys working for ABC-7, he replied "Life is good and I love El Paso. This is an incredible news town."

El Paso may have gotten a little more incredible than Hunt would have liked when he found himself handcuffed and detained by a police officer this week, just for attempting to report on a traffic accident.

According to ABC-7, Hunt and cameraman Ric Dupont were sent out to film a flipped semi on the interstate. They parked on the shoulder of the other side of the road as men in military fatigues were helping pull the driver out of the cab.

At that point, Sgt. Raul Ramirez ordered them to leave. When Hunt persisted in trying to ask the men in fatigues what was going on, Ramirez jumped over the barrier and began yelling, "Get in your truck and move!"

Hunt replied, referring to his cameraman, "He can shoot if he wants to," and Ramirez rushed over and grabbed him.

"Do you want me to arrest you?" Ramirez yelled. "I'm telling you something. I'm giving you an order."

An increasingly angry Ramirez twisted Hunt's arm behind his back, as Hunt objected, "I'm not doing anything. I haven't done a thing. I'm just trying to leave."

Ramirez handcuffed Hunt and pushed him against a chain-link fence, then handcuffed the cameraman as well. Both men were taken to the Westside Regional Command Center but were quickly released.

Police Chief Greg Allen said after reviewing the news video on Tuesday that Ramirez appeared to have acted inappropriately in singling out the news team while ignoring the crowd of onlookers.

"You have the media and the public mingling together," Allen stated.
"So if general citizens of the community are being allowed to stand by and watch what's going on, then the media should have as well. ... Unfortunately this is a police officer that's acting this way. The disturbing fact of the situation is that he let his emotions get out of control to where he made some bad decisions."

Ramirez has been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the police investigation of the incident.

ABC 7 has more details here.

This video is from ABC 7 KVIA, broadcast Apr. 21, 2009.

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