ROCKVILLE, Md. (CBSDC) — Vice President Joe Biden’s press office has apologized to the University of Maryland following “pure intimidation” demands for a student journalist to delete photos he took of a domestic violence event featuring Biden.
College Park Patch reports that a credentialed student from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, Jeremy Barr, was snapping photos at the Rockville event when a Biden staffer began interrogating the student.
“Did you take any photos during the event,” Barr said he was asked by Biden staffer Dana Rosenzweig. “I need to see your camera right now,” she reportedly said after Barr confirmed he had taken photographs of the event that also featured Attorney General Eric Holder and Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin.
The Biden staffer then requested to watch Barr delete his photos, Barr complied, and then the staffer reportedly asked him to show her his iPhone to confirm he did not save any of the photos.
“I assumed that I’d violated a protocol,” Barr told College Park Patch. “I gave her the benefit of the doubt that she was following proper procedures.”
Biden’s Press Secretary Kendra Barkoff declined to speak on the record about the event, and staffer Rosenzweig did not return calls for the Capital News Service — the student-run publication operated by the journalism school.
Biden’s apology came after a formal complaint was filed with his press office by the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism’s dean, Lucy A. Dalglish.
“This was pure intimidation,” Dalglish told College Park Patch, adding that, “It’s clear from the circumstance that the journalist did nothing wrong.” Dalglish said Barkoff apologized to her and student journalist Barr in separate phone conversations.
Dalglish said Barkoff had told her the incident was a “total miscommunication,” and said that it is never press office policy to request a reporter to delete their photographs.
— Benjamin Fearnow
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