A reporter for a Los Angeles radio station was among those arrested during the protests outside the hospital where two sheriff’s deputies were being treated after getting ambushed in a shooting in Compton, California.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that Josie Huang of KPCC, an NPR affiliate station, was arrested during the protests on Saturday night outside St. Francis Medical Center. Video from the scene showed Huang on the ground being handcuffed.
The sheriff’s department said Huang did not identify herself as a member of the press prior to her arrest. The department further claimed that Huang ran at the officers, did not listen to their orders to leave the area, and “interfered with the arrest” of another protester.
“After deputies issued a dispersal order for the unlawful assembly of a group of protesters blocking the hospital emergency entrance & exits, a male adult protester refused to comply & cooperate,” the department tweeted. “During his arrest, a struggle ensued at which time a female adult ran towards the deputies, ignored repeated commands to stay back as they struggled with the male and interfered with the arrest.”
They added, “The female adult, who was later identified as a member of the press, did not identify herself as press and later admitted she did not have proper press credentials on her person. Both individuals have been arrested for 148 P.C.”
(3/3) The female adult, who was later identified as a member of the press, did not identify herself as press and later admitted she did not have proper press credentials on her person. Both individuals have been arrested for 148 P.C.
— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) September 13, 2020
Huang and other reporters pushed back on the claims made by the department. ABC 7 reported that Huang appeared to have her credential hanging from her neck during the arrest, and Huang vowed to release cellphone footage of the incident later on Sunday.
“Hi, all. I’m out of county jail and am headed home. Thank you for caring. I have seen @LASDHQ tweets and have thoughts and videos to share soon after a little rest,” she tweeted.
Frank Stoltze, another reporter for KPCC, confirmed that Huang had audio and video from the arrest because she had been recording before officers tackled her to the ground. He reported that Huang identified herself several times and told the officers that they were hurting her during the “troubling” audio.
NEW: @josie_huang tells us #LASD deputies knocked her cellphone from her hands when they arrested her..and that it was recording video at the time. The audio is troubling. You can hear Josie repeatedly identifying herself as a @KPCC reporter & yelling “You’re hurting me” @LAist
— Frank Stoltze (@StoltzeFrankly) September 13, 2020
Huang was covering the protests outside a hospital where two officers were being treated after being shot in what Reginald Jones-Sawyer, a California state assemblyman from South Los Angeles, called an “an unprovoked, cowardly act.”
Police said protesters started to block off access to the emergency room to the hospital, prompting officers to order everyone to leave the area, and they chanted, “We hope they die,” as the injured officers were undergoing surgery inside the facility.
The department has not released the names of the injured deputies, who are in critical condition and remained hospitalized on Sunday, but it described the injured parties as a 24-year-old man and a 31-year-old mother of a 6-year-old boy. Both graduated from the sheriff’s academy in July 2019.