Military police at Joint System Manufacturing Center said all they were trying to do was protect the facility from terrorism when they confiscated a camera belonging to a Toledo Blade photographer and deleted some of its images.
Their actions leave us wondering who is going to protect U.S. citizens from the military police.
The incident took place Friday afternoon. Blade reporter Tyrel Linkhorn and photographer Jetta Fraser said they were outside the facility near the driveway entrance when they were stopped and detained by military police. They were released more than an hour later, but the camera wasn’t returned for another seven hours, and that only happened after U.S. Sen. Rob Portman intervened. All the photographs that Fraser had taken of the facility were deleted when the camera was returned.
We don’t know if the MPs were simply following procedure when they detained the journalists and pilfered their camera. What we can tell you, however, is their actions defied common sense and were something one might expect to happen in places such as Russia or China, but not the United States.
Linkhorn and Fraser were wearing Blade and news media credentials at the time. The MPs went as far as placing Fraser in handcuffs when she initially refused to provide her driver’s license, noting she was not the person driving the vehicle. Shortly after questioning the two journalists, the military police confirmed their employment with the Blade.
Everything Fraser photographed was visible from Buckeye Road. The images also are available on both Google Earth and Google Street View — two Internet services that are so simple a fourth-grader or younger is capable of using them.
It’s inconceivable to imagine taking a photo of the plant from along Buckeye Road could put America in harm’s way.