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ACLU of Indiana Settles Suit over Arrest of Woman Taking Photographs

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana settled a lawsuit on behalf of a Whiting woman who was arrested while she was taking pictures of a house fire.

"We are happy for our client that this case has been settled," said ACLU of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk. "No one should be subject to arrest simply for exercising rights that the U.S. Constitution guarantees to everyone, and we hope this behavior will not be repeated."

Contending the officer violated the woman's First and Fourth Amendment rights, the ACLU of Indiana filed the case on April 1, 2015 on behalf of Christine LaPlume against a City of Whiting police officer.

LaPlume was staying with a friend when she heard a commotion in the early morning hours and realized a house down the street was on fire. When she went outside, she saw a number of fire trucks, media vans and police. She joined a group of local reporters, camera men and other observers who were gathered well outside the police tape that secured the area and began taking pictures along with them. But a Whiting police officer approached her and demanded that she delete the pictures. When she was placed under arrest, she was taken to the police station in Whiting, charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, and placed in a small holding cell for five hours before being released on bond. All charges were eventually dropped.

The dismissal in Christine LaPlume v. City of Whiting Police Officer Christopher Prevatte, et al., Case No. 2:15-cv-125-RL-JEM, was entered on Jan. 25, 2016 in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division.