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Charge dropped against freelance journalist after letter of apology

LARGO — Pinellas prosecutors dropped a misdemeanor obstruction charge against a freelance news videographer on Thursday after he submitted a letter of apology.

Eamonn Kneeshaw, 64, was charged with obstruction after a St. Petersburg police officer said the videographer wouldn't get out of the way while filming police action near a house at 5411 Fourth Ave. N. There, a man named Arthur Dixon had doused himself with gasoline and was threatening to set himself afire.

After Kneeshaw arrived, Dixon threatened officers with a pair of scissors and was shot and killed by police, an action later ruled justified by the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office.

Kneeshaw denied he was obstructing or interfering. He said he was just showing up to film whatever happened and had stayed behind police tape. He said officers didn't object until he began filming Dixon's mother, who later criticized the police by saying they overreacted in killing her son.

Given the option to have the case dropped, Kneeshaw agreed to write an apology to police at prosecutors' request.

In the letter, Kneeshaw apologizes for misunderstandings but doesn't say he did anything wrong.

"Please be assured it was not my intention to interfere with your duties in any way," he wrote.

Kneeshaw's attorney, John Trevena, said this was a good resolution to the case and that "only a fool" would have balked at writing the letter.

Charge dropped against freelance journalist after letter of apology 08/08/13 [Last modified: Thursday, August 8, 2013 10:04pm]
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