LAT photographer charged by Ventura County

ricardo-dearatanha-lat.jpgRicardo DeAratanha, the Los Angeles Times news photographer who was arrested by Simi Valley police while transmitting photos of the Nancy Reagan funeral motorcade last month, was charged Tuesday by Ventura County with one misdemeanor count of resisting, obstructing or delaying a peace officer. His arraignment is Thursday. I would have thought that the officials out there would want this blemish on law enforcement to quietly go away. But no. Now they are going to embroil themselves in a very public controversy over what actually happened.

Police say they responded to a call about a suspicion vehicle near the Reagan Library and that DeAratanha refused to identify himself. DeAratanha's lawyer says, however, that he did cooperate with the officers and provided cards issued by the Times and by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The lawyer says that the cops kept asking for more identification, and that when DeAratanha suggested they were bothering him because he has dark skin, three officers “swarmed him and pushed him to the ground.”

After he was arrested, DeAratanha — who is of Brazilian heritage and 65 years old — was allowed by the police to finish transmitting his pictures. He then went to a hospital to have an injured arm examined.

“I’m disappointed that it’s come this far,” lawyer Mark Werksman said. “It’s hard to imagine any legal or factual basis for prosecution over this.” The Ventura DA's office would not provide the LAT with details of the case against DeAratanha.

More by Kevin Roderick:
'In on merit' at USC
Read the memo: LA Times hires again
Read the memo: LA Times losing big on search traffic
Google taking over LA's deadest shopping mall
Gustavo Arellano, many others join LA Times staff
Recent Media stories on LA Observed:
Walking through 4,000 photographs with Annie Leibovitz
Read the memo: LA Times hires again
Olde-time L.A. journalism
Rorschach and Rashomon on the Washington Mall
Read the memo: LA Times losing big on search traffic
Gustavo Arellano, many others join LA Times staff
Here's who the LA Times has newly hired*
LA Observed Notes: Clippers hire big-time writer, unfunny Emmys, editor memo at the Times and more