The arrest of journalists during protests

The arrest of independent photographer Julia Reinhard at Occupy Wall Street one year anniversary demonstration. Photo by Jessica Leherman for

The arrest of Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman is by far not the first time a journalist has been arrested at a demonstration. In recent memory, the arrest of journalists was prevalent during Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.

According to this Storify compiled by Josh Stearns, as of Monday, Sept. 17, 2012- approximately 90 arrests were made of journalists who were on assignment during the Occupy demonstrations.

For example, according to Photojournalist and member of the National Press Photographer Association Julia Reinhart, she was arrested while taking photos at the one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street in New York City in 2012.

Reinhart said, “As I walked down Wall Street, protesters were marching on the sidewalk across the street from me, chanting and gearing up to block the intersection of Wall Street and Pearl. A massive contingent of police scooters along with cops in riot gear were standing at the ready. A police officer started to read out a dispersal order to the protesters assembled at the street corner, and anticipating a new sit-in and some arrest shots, I crossed the street to photograph the officer with his megaphone, as well as any upcoming interactions.

“As I started photographing the scene – the cop with his megaphone and other officers standing around watching the protesters – I hear a voice over the megaphone saying: ‘If you don’t move, you will be arrested.’ I took one more shot of the cops standing at the corner, when the white shirt officer in charge of the scene pointed at me and said: ‘That’s it. She’s done. Take her.’ He promptly grabbed my hand.”

After pleading with the police that she was an independent photographer, she was arrested and given zip cuffs that were tight enough to cut her circulation.

The arresting officers went as far as to refer to her as a ‘body’ when a car was ordered for her- a term she took as disrespectful and inappropriate, seeing as she was alive.

“By this time my hands were a darker shade of blue and deep imprints from the edges of the cuffs were visible on both my wrists. I was allowed to take off the backpack, put the camera into my bag, stretch out my fingers for a second, before I had to be re-cuffed, thankfully looser this time,” Reinhart stated in her account.

Once booked, Reinhart and others with her were labeled as “perps” or perpetrators but all they were guilty of were exercising their first amendment rights.

She also related how some of the out-of- town people she was placed in a cell with were denied their phone call while the female guards verbally abused the people in the cells who sang or chanted.

Reinhard acknowledged the unfair treatment of those arrested while in holding cells and stated that she has lost feeling in parts of her hand, which inhibits her work as a photojournalist.

The photojournalist also wondered if  her arrest could have been the direct result of her photographing the arrest of fellow photographer, Charles Meacham, earlier that weekend- who was photographing the arrest of photojournalist Cory Clark.


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