Detroit — Police are investigating a well-known local blogger accused of allegedly assaulting a videographer following an incident captured on video at a Detroit fire scene.
The Dec. 5 incident started in the 2900 block of Garland, when Steve Neavling, a former Detroit Free Press reporter who runs motorcitymuckraker.com, and videographer Blake Arnold were covering a fire that started near the historic home of Dr. Ossian Sweet, a black doctor who in 1925 shot and killed a man who was part of a mob that was angry because Sweet’s family had moved into the all-white neighborhood.
(You can watch the video, which contains strong language, here .)
Arnold’s camera was rolling as he approached Neavling and said, “You did a hit job on the Grosse Pointe Park Police” — a reference to a story Neavling broke in November about officers who filmed a homeless man as they seemed to taunt him.
In the wake of the incident, Police Chief David Hiller ordered his officers to undergo sensitivity training.
After Arnold questioned the blogger about his story, Neavling is seen in the video taking a few steps before turning and saying, “Get the (expletive) away from me.” Neavling then takes a swing at the camera, and the picture wobbles. Neavling again warns Arnold to get out of his “personal space” before swinging again.
“He punched me in the nose,” Blake said. “He really messed up my nose; it was bleeding pretty good.”
A police report of the incident confirms the 40-year-old Grosse Pointe Woods resident was treated by an ambulance for a cut over the nose. He was treated and released at the scene. The alleged scuffle is being investigated as a simple assault, according to the police report.
Neavling said Blake had been harassing him online for months, and said the video, which was posted to a Facebook site critical of Neavling, doesn’t tell the whole story.
“The part you see is probably five to 10 minutes after he first ambushed me,” Neavling said. “It looks like I’m attacking him ... but that’s creative editing. I was hitting the video camera out of his hand.
“It was dark; I’m trying to do my job, and this guy’s following me around with a video camera. I didn’t know who he was,” Neavling said. “I thought he wanted to shake my hand.”
Blake said it took several weeks for police to get back to him after he made the initial report, and said detectives told him last week they’re still investigating the incident.