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About Suzannah Troy, suebe1art@aol.com

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

7th Precinct NYPD officers arrest Lower East Side's most famous photographer for doing what he is famous for







The photos are by Elsa Rensaa, Clayton's wife and fellow artist/photographer
The opinions expressed are mine.

Thursday at 10:00 am Clayton was out photographing -- documenting as he has since 1979 what is happening in the neighborhood and these NYPD officers from the 7th arrested Clayton Patterson as he moved in for the best position possible to document "smoke not fire".

This seems to be a problem with police procedure because the street was not a frozen zone and kids and adults I heard were allowed to walk through the area.  There was no police line.

The police should dismiss the charges because  Clayton Patterson was not a threat to the response team which was responding from what I hear to more smoke than an actual fire.  

(The 7th Precinct, I think is the precinct that got some very bad publicity arresting a young woman for going topless which is not against the law in NYC and to add injury to insult, the arresting officer sent her to Bellevue.   She sued and won $30,000 dollars as I recall.)

Clayton Patterson is one the most important photographers of the Lower East Side, Bowery and East Village having video taped of the riots at Tompkins Square Park.

When I told Clayton about how impressive the handling of Jim Powers was by the young officers from the 9th Precinct, how they showed Jim compassion as he had a meltdown and rather than arrest him, they officers were successful in calming him down which turned out to be key for two factors.  Jim was not separated from his dog which is like an emotional seeing eye dog for Jim Powers, Viet Nam Vet and famous for his mosaic art and two,  Jim because he was not arrested was able to get off the street in to housing.   Clayton urged me to write and praise the 9th Precinct and I had told Clayton I already had done so.

My point is Clayton getting arrested was wrong and Clayton's documentation of the riots if anything raised the bar for the NYPD so things like that never happen again.

He is loved by so many in the community which is evident as people stop constantly to chat with him as do I so it is upsetting and it is also because photographers and people like myself artists that blog with my digital camera and iphone become an important alternative to the people of NYC and a world wide audience that want to see what they might not find in the newspapers for so many reasons including many newspapers are owned by people or groups with  mega buck real estate holdings as well as power brokers with agendas.

Our photos become crucial...it maybe anyone walking down the street using their cel phone to document an event.

This was an unnecessary arrest that brings up questions about guidelines for the police and the role of people like Clayton Patterson who has provided a service for the community documenting the important history of the Lower East Side, Bowery, East Village, New York City.

You can see the important role of both Clayton Patterson and his life partner Elsa Rensaa

Clayton just had an exhibition in Chelsea recently .http://www.ktfgallery.com/artists/clayton_patterson/?show=press   I found this article "Rebel with a Lens: A Neighborhood a Film/Video History of the Lower East Side, Aug. 29, 2005  The Gothamist.

He is most famous for being one of the people that filmed the riots and the irony is the anniversary is coming up.  

Clayton Patterson is a very layed back mellow person.  He bares no animosity towards anyone including the arresting officers.  This just brings ups some interesting questions...actually a lot.
Mine include this one, Dear  7th Precinct, Are you going to drop the charges?"

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