Some of the demonstrations at the presidential inauguration reportedly turned ugly on January 20, with windows smashed and a limousine set on fire. Among those arrested: six people described as journalists covering the events.
Jack Keller, a producer for the web documentary series Story of America, said he was charged and detained for about 36 hours after being kettled by police at 12th and L streets on Friday morning and arrested despite telling officers that he was covering the demonstrations as a journalist.
“The way we were treated was an absolute travesty,” said Keller, whose cellphone has been kept by the authorities. Keller’s editor, Annabel Park, said: “It is a maddening and frustrating situation. These are people who were there observing and documenting.”
Matt Hopard , an independent journalist who was live-streaming the Friday protests, was arrested at the same site as Keller, Engel and Rubinstein, according to metropolitan police records. He said in a message that he denied the charge against him.
Also arrested while covering the demonstrations at 12th and L streets and later charged were Shay Horse, an independent photojournalist and activist, and Aaron Cantú, a freelance journalist and activist, who has written for outlets including the Baffler, the Washington Spectator and the New Inquiry. Both deny wrongdoing.
In all, more than 200 people were arrested on Friday, after property was vandalized in the US capital in the hours around Trump’s swearing-in as president. Police said that six officers suffered minor injuries.
Witnesses reported that sweeping arrests during the parade targeted rioters, protesters and journalists indiscriminately. A lawyer representing dozens of people arrested, Mark Goldstone, told The Associated Press that the police had “basically identified a location that had problems and arrested everyone in that location.”
Now, I'm citing MSM sources, so for some corroboration, you can look up information on each court case on the D.C. Courts' website here.
Also, the executive editor for the pro-Trump Fox News has written an opinion piece surmising that the six arrested might have been engaging in "participatory journalism" in what he says would be a violation of journalistic boundaries.
Two of those detained were described in news stories as “journalist and activist.” I don’t know if that is accurate, but I do know that it’s not possible to be both at the same time. A journalist who uses his or her credentials to gain access to an event -- whether it’s a speech, a battlefield or a protest march – gives up the right to be part of the action. You can’t riot while you’re working and expect your press pass to protect you.
He also claims to have info on a few other reporters who were detained but released after their bosses made some calls:
Steven Nelson of U.S. News was covering the protests near 12th and L Street, where windows were being smashed and at least one vehicle set ablaze, when he realized the group he was in had been hemmed in by the DC police.
“I was not allowed to leave the group that had been detained,” Nelson told me. “After an hour, two local NBC reporters were allowed to leave after their boss called a lieutenant, and I was too. I think I just lucked out.” Nelson told me he was wearing his press credential and tried to identify himself as a reporter. Many of the rioters were dressed in black. Nelson was wearing a button down blue shirt and a pea-coat.
And finally, as an example of poor standards in journalism, the story is re-printed verbatim by Business Insider, The Guardian, Alternet, The International News, WeAreChange.Org, and numerous other sites.
Those arrested are facing up to ten years in prison.
Edited by Sidestreet, 26 January 2017 - 05:41 AM.