LIMA, Ohio (WTVN) -- A reporter and photographer from a Toledo newspaper were detained outside the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima Friday after they were spotted by military police taking photos.
The facility makes tanks used by the U.S. Army.
According to a story posted on the Toledo Blade's website, reporter Tyrel Linkhorn and photographer Jetta Fraser said they went to the driveway entrance of the tank plant operated by General Dynamics’ Land Systems. They claimed that they stayed outside the plant’s gate and did not pass an unmanned guard shack. The pair were leaving when they were stopped by military police.
The newspaper says the Fraser's camera was taken and the photos on it reviewed by plant management. The imgaes of the plant had been deleted. The camera was returned after The Blade called U.S. Sen. Rob Portman's office. Portman's office then apparently called General Dynamics plant manager Keith Deters.
Deters told the newspaper that no one from General Dynamics handled the cameras.
"I would have no idea" who would have deleted the photos, he said.
John Robinson Block, The Blade’s publisher and editor-in-chief, called the incident disturbing.
“I’m personally shocked by this incident,” Block said. “I believe our people were totally in the right.”
The Blade says their employees were both wearing proper media credentials at the time. They had been in Lima covering an announcement by Ford to add 300 jobs at its Lima plant and had decided to snap some file photos of the tank plant.
Fraser says she was handcuffed and escorted from her vehicle after initially refusing to provide military police with her driver's license since she wasn't driving the vehicle.
Apparently the pair raised suspicions of terrorism by taking photos of the outside of the building.
“I really don’t understand what I was not allowed to photograph. If I can see it from the road, it’s available to the public eye,” said Fraser. “If there is something terribly significant there, then they should probably hide it from the public.”
The Blade says it is considering legal action.