A Los Angeles Times photographer has been charged with a misdemeanor count of resisting, obstructing or delaying a peace officer in a complaint filed by the Ventura County District Attorney’s office in connection with Nancy Reagan’s funeral motorcade in Simi Valley.
The complaint against Ricardo DeArantanha, 65, filed Monday, follows his arrest on March 9 in Simi Valley while he was parked on the side of the road transmitting photographs he had taken of the public viewing of the First Lady at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
DeArantanha is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday on the misdemeanor charge, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Simi Valley Deputy Chief David Livingstone previously told the Times that police responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle near Roosevelt Court and Wood Ranch Parkway, about three-quarters of a mile downhill from the Reagan Presidential Library, where a public viewing was being held for the former first lady.
DeAratanha had parked by the side of the road to use his laptop computer to transmit his photos, according to The Times.
Livingstone claimed that DeAratanha had refused to identify himself and balked at providing identification, The Times reported.
“Had he cooperated, we would have had a different outcome,” Livingstone reportedly said.
However, Mark Werksman, the photographer’s attorney vehemently disputed the police account, saying DeAratanha provided “multiple unassailable press credentials,” including identification cards issued by The Times and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The officers “kept asking him for more ID,” Werksman told The Times. “Then they ordered him out of the car when they weren’t satisfied with his answer.”
At some point, Werksman said, DeAratanha — who is Brazilian and tanned – – suggested the officers were harassing him because of his ethnicity, and “they resented that he would question their motives. They swarmed him and threw him to the ground and cuffed him.”
Livingstone denied that ethnicity played a role in the incident and said officers were responding to a report of suspicious activity at a “high- security event.” A neighbor had reported that a tarp was partly covering the car and that a man inside was bent over with a cover on his head, he said.
The photographer had been using the tarp to provide shade so he could read the screen of his computer as he transmitted his photos, Werksman said.
After he was arrested, DeAratanha explained to officers that he was a photojournalist, and a commander allowed him to finish sending his photos, Livingstone said.
DeAratanha, who joined The Times in 1989, was taken to a hospital, where he was treated for a sprained elbow, according to The Times, before he was issued a misdemeanor citation by police.
—City News Service