Video showing multiple sheriff’s deputies in Los Angeles pinning a journalist covering a protest to the ground and arresting her has drawn condemnation from journalists across social media.
In a recording obtained by local news outlet ABC7, several deputies are seen pinning reporter Josie Huang, who writes for LAist and reports for NPR affiliate KPCC, to the pavement before bringing her to her feet and leading her away to a squad car.
Protests have continued for weeks in Los Angeles over the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., and the deaths of other Black Americans during encounters with police. A Black man was also shot and killed by deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department several weeks ago, causing protests to swell in size and intensity.
ABC7 showing video of radio reporter being taken down to the pavement by officers, handcuffed and led to a patrol car outside of hospital where two #LA County deputies shot in ambush are being treated @LASDHQ #crime #SoCal pic.twitter.com/rTg1UdeDKA
— Scott Schwebke (@TheChalkOutline) September 13, 2020
The protests also come amid the shooting of two sheriff’s deputies Saturday evening in the city’s Compton neighborhood, both of whom were critically injured.
LAist reported that Huang was accused by authorities of “interfering with a lawful arrest,” though deputies initially refused to provide details about her detention. A deputy with the Sheriff’s Information Bureau also incorrectly accused Huang of not clearly wearing press credentials, which she can be seen wearing in the video. Huang says she was documenting the arrest of another protester when she herself was detained by deputies.
NPR condemned Huang’s arrest in a statement released on Twitter, stating that the outlet was “appalled by the arrest of Josie Huang, a KPCC public radio reporter, who was performing her job last night—gathering facts to inform the American public.”
“The rights of journalists are protected by the First Amendment, and essential to an informed public and our Democracy,” NPR continued.
NPR is appalled by the arrest of Josie Huang, a KPCC public radio reporter, who was performing her job last night—gathering facts to inform the American public. The rights of journalists are protected by the First Amendment, and essential to an informed public and our Democracy.
— nprextra (@NPRextra) September 13, 2020
In a statement obtained by LAist, KPCC also called for charges against Huang to be dropped.
“We offer condolences to the two sheriff deputies who were shot Saturday evening,” said KPCC. “These are challenging and stressful times for everyone, but Josie Huang was arrested while doing her job. The charges should be dropped.”
“Her arrest is the latest in a series of troubling interactions between our reporters and some local law enforcement officers. Journalists provide an essential service, providing fair, accurate and timely journalism and without them, our democracy is at risk,” the station added.