At least five journalists arrested during OWS protests

Lilly Chapa | Newsgathering | News | September 17, 2012

At least five journalists have been arrested in Manhattan while covering Occupy Wall Street protests marking the one-year anniversary of the movement.

New York City police said the department has arrested 146 people between Saturday and this afternoon. Those arrested include Hunter College student journalist John Bolger, economic journalist Mark Provost, illustrator Molly Crabapple and photojournalists Julia Reinhart and Charles Meacham.

The reasons for the journalists' arrests were not clear, although there were indications that at least one was swept up with other arrestees during the protests. A few of the arrested journalists reported their experiences through social media.

“I was arrested in NYC during an Occupy march this evening,” Provost wrote on his Facebook page Saturday night. “NYPD was randomly grabbing people 3-5 at a time throughout the march.”

Meacham said he also was unsure of the reason for his arrest.

“I was once again arrested for taking photos by [NYPD] Deputy Inspector [Edward J.] Winski who is well aware that I am a photographer,” Meacham wrote on his Facebook page. “I was released four hours later, but never told what the charge was against me.”

Bystanders said police arrested Reinhart because she did not have an NYPD press pass, although she had her National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) credentials with her.

NPPA lawyer Mickey Osterreicher said in an interview today that he is concerned about how the NYPD is handling the arrests of journalists.

“If the public is there, the press can be there,” Osterreicher said. “Whether they’re press or public, they have a right to observe and photograph an arrest, and it says that in the NYPD patrol guide. Just being present and taking pictures while someone else is being arrested is not probable cause for arrest.”

This is not the first time journalists have been swept up in Occupy Wall Street-related arrests. The treatment of the news media during Occupy Wall Street protests last November drew criticism and concern from many media advocates, including The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. In a letter to the NYPD, media organizations scolded the department, expressing their "profound displeasure, disappointment and concern over the recent actions taken against the media during the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations near and around Zuccotti Park.”

Related Reporters Committee resources:

· News: Roundup: Treatment of reporters at NYC Occupy raid

· Release: Reporters Committee disturbed by detention of credentialed journalists at "Occupy" protests