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Ambulance sues filmmaker over footage at accident scene

KILLDEER, N.D. -- The Killdeer Area Ambulance Service is bringing a documentarian to court in an effort to prevent him from using footage a cameraman got during a call to a rig accident. Todd Melby, a reporter for the "Black Gold Boom" documentar...

 

KILLDEER, N.D. - The Killdeer Area Ambulance Service is bringing a documentarian to court in an effort to prevent him from using footage a cameraman got during a call to a rig accident.
Todd Melby, a reporter for the “Black Gold Boom” documentary and website that portrays how oil has transformed western North Dakota, had been working with the ambulance service for material on the issue of oilfield injuries and deaths.
“It definitely has potential because what happened illustrates the dangers of the oilfields in North Dakota,” Melby said of the footage the ambulance service is after. He said small Oil Patch ambulance services like Killdeer’s are “having to deal with more and more stresses.”
At issue is footage from March. Melby said the cameraman had permission to go along to the response; the ambulance service said he didn’t.
Melby repeatedly had been denied access to such “live” ambulance responses but said for the day in question, ambulance manager Ann Hafner gave him permission.
Killdeer Ambulance is now trying to prevent Melby from using any footage obtained on the run.
Melby said the case is an attack on the First Amendment in the form of prior restraint, or pre-publication censorship.

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