Deputy Chief James Tolbert apologized to editors and said there's nothing illegal about recording video of police officers in public, the newspaper said.
Mandi Wright and Free Press reporter Kathleen Gray were on a video training session Thursday when they suddenly saw officers escorting a suspect to a police car. Wright, who said she was wearing media identification around her neck, pulled out her iPhone, apparently raising the ire of officers.
"I'm a journalist, working journalist," Wright said.
"OK. I don't care who you are," the officer responded, according to the video.
Wright didn't know he was an officer because nothing on his clothes showed he was with the police. There was a brief struggle, the phone was confiscated and Wright was arrested.
Wright, 47, said she was put in the same interrogation room as the suspect and asked to provide her name and address in front of the man. She has not been charged with a crime.
Investigators are looking into "the whole incident, from start to end," Tolbert said.
Free Press editor and publisher Paul Anger said the incident seemed to needlessly escalate.
"We understand the difficult job that police officers do, and we understand how tensions can rise," he said. "Yet some of the police actions all through this incident need scrutiny, not the actions of our photographer."