September 10th, 2008
RNC arrests still top of mind
By Dave Aeikens
I have spent part of my day talking to reporters covering the story about the journalists arrested covering the protests at the Republican National Convention. It’s a story that continues because the charges are still pending and there are some folks looking into how this was all handled. That’s good.
The Minnesota Independent has the best list I have seen so far of the names the the reporters who were swept up in the arrests. This, of course, is unacceptable. We had hoped the police would be more careful and let the journalists covering the story do their work. That didn’t happen. We now want the charges to be dropped against people who did not commit crimes. It is not against the law to cover a protest. It will be a week tomorrow since most of the arrests. Charges are still pending against one of my friends, former Minnesota Pro chapter President Art Hughes. He probably deserves an ocassional hard time, but four hours in cuffs and a ticket for unlawful public assembly is ridiculous.
A number of other Minnesota journalists I know and respect have tickets as well. SPJ would be happy to sit down with authorities after this is over and talk about how this might go better next time there is a massive protest that needs police action and news coverage.