NY governor springs Daily News reporter Lovett from the clink
New York Daily News veteran reporter Kenneth Lovett was briefly handcuffed and jailed for talking on his cell phone in the lobby of the New York State Senate Chambers.
A sign in the lobby says cellphones aren’t allowed to be used in the chamber, but doesn’t specifically mention the lobby, where phones are often used by legislators, their staffers, lobbyists, onlookers and reporters when the Senate is not in session, the New York Daily News reported.
“The incident had to be the most bizarre thing I’ve experienced during my nearly quarter century covering the state Capitol — and that is saying something,” Lovett wrote about the ordeal.
David Lombardo posted a picture taken by Sean Ewart Legislative Director for NYS Assemblymember Jenne, D-116th District showing Lovett being handcuffed by a New York State Police officer.
A sign in the lobby says cellphones aren’t allowed to be used in the chamber, but doesn’t specifically mention the lobby, where phones are often used by legislators, their staffers, lobbyists, onlookers and reporters when the Senate is not in session, it was reported.
Lovett said he was taken into custody over the rarely-enforced violation as he spoke with a source.
“A relatively new Senate sergeant-at-arms who I was not familiar with told me to get off the phone. I asked if he was kidding since the Senate was not in session and I, like many others, routinely speak on the phone when that’s the case,” he wrote.
“Next thing you know, the former cop is in my grill telling me to leave the area. He wouldn’t back off. I can’t say I took to that politely and we started going back and forth, Lovett explained.
The situation escalated, and the State Police were called.
The bizarre event resulted in the Senate releasing a statement.
“Earlier today a reporter was asked to comply with a rule prohibiting use of a cell phone in the Senate lobby. He refused and the State Police were notified.”
It continued, “The incident escalated quickly and unfortunately he was detained by the State Police. We have formally requested that he be released and very much regret the incident.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo escorted Lovett from lockup after the Senate declined to press charges.
“I wanted to make sure that he had a good counsel and that’s why I offered my services on a pro-bono basis — and it just does my heart good to be able say I freed Ken Lovett,” Cuomo is quoted as saying.
Lovett took his ordeal in stride. “Of course, being the glass-half-full guy that I am, I’m just glad the incident took place shortly after I managed to finally score tickets to ‘Springsteen on Broadway.’ Striking out on seats again would have been the true crime,” he concluded in his column.