During the pandemic drill on November 30, Mr. Sharpe approached news photographer Chip Moon from behind without warning, grabbed the photographer's arm and pulled him across the room to a Hudson police officer, demanding that the officer confiscate Mr. Moon's equipment and destroy any images in his camera.
The Independent had assigned Mr. Moon to photograph the event and had received advance clearance from the county Health Department. When a Health Department official at the site confirmed that Mr. Moon was authorized to be at the event, Mr. Sharpe left the room without any explanation.
According to the stipulation, in addition to serving a 30-calendar-day suspension without pay and issuing a statement expressing regret for his actions, Mr. Sharpe waives any right to a hearing. He acknowledges that he was offered the opportunity to consult with an attorney.
In his statement, Mr. Sharpe says at the time of the incident he had received a radio message that there was a breach of security by a photographer inside the school. "Due to the fact that established protocol was altered, I was unaware that the photographer had been given access and permission to take photos," he writes. "Being mindful of HIPAA rules and regulations, my actions were two-fold: 1) to protect the privacy of the person receiving the flu inoculation and 2) to protect the County from possible Federal HIPAA Law violation." HIPPA refers to the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, part of which protects the confidentiality of patient records.
It is gratifying to learn that, as much as I love HIPAA and all of the many things it allows, that there is someone out there even more concerned about the privacy of others, enough so that he was ready to throw his body in the path of the rogue photographer in question and manhandle him away from the exposed vaccinationees!