A Connecticut firefighter has been charged with violating a state law that makes it a crime for first responders to take photos of victims at emergency scenes. Steven Frischling, 45, the public information officer for the Chesterfield Fire Company, was arrested Tuesday.
Frischling is charged with violating Joshua’s Law, enacted in 2011 following the taking and sharing of a photo of a heroin overdose victim by a New London police officer. The law states:
Sec. 53-341c. Unauthorized taking or transmission by first responders of images of crime or accident victims. Any peace officer or firefighter, as those terms are defined in section 53a-3, or any ambulance driver, emergency medical responder, emergency medical technician or paramedic, as those terms are defined in section 19a-175, who responds to a request to provide medical or other assistance to a person and, other than in the performance of his or her duties, knowingly (1) takes a photographic or digital image of such person without the consent of such person or a member of such person’s immediate family, or (2) transmits, disseminates or otherwise makes available to a third person a photographic or digital image of such person without the consent of such person or a member of such person’s immediate family, shall be fined not more than two thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.
Montville Police charged Frischling with two counts of violating Joshua’s Law, one for taking photos at the scene of a motor vehicle accident on February 7, 2021, and one for sharing them on Facebook. According to the Montville Patch, Frischling claims he took and shared the photos in question pursuant to his duties as PIO.
Here is a copy of the criminal complaint listing the factual allegations against Frischling.
Connecticut is one of three states that have criminalized this sort of phototaking. New Jersey (Cathy’s Law) and California (Kobe Bryant) are the others.