More news about journalists arrested while covering Monday’s protests outside the Republican National Convention: Radio host Amy Goodman pressed the St. Paul police chief at a press conference Tuesday for an accounting of her detainment, while two University of Kentucky journalism students and a photo adviser were expected to spend a second night sitting in jail awaiting riot charges.
"Reporters have rights," Chief John Harrington said, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, but if reporters don’t heed police orders to leave the area of an unlawful assembly or "if they are in the midst of the riot, we can’t protect them…It would be very difficult for us in a moment of that kind of chaos to be able to make those kind of fine distinctions."
The newspaper said Harrington declined to comment on Goodman’s particular case, not having seen the video in which she is seen being handcuffed outside the convention. According to the Los Angeles Times, Goodman, the Democracy Now! host, was asking to speak with a commanding officer about the arrest of two of her producers, part of which was also videotaped, when she herself was detained.
Separately, an Associated Press photographer was swept up in Monday’s protests and arrested along with more than 280 others. Pennsylvania-based cameraman Matt Rourke was released about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday without charge and headed back to work, according to The Philadelphia Daily News.
The wire service also reported Tuesday on the arrests of Kentucky students Edward C. Matthews and Britney D. McIntosh and adviser Jim Winn. An AP photograph shows Matthews standing near a small group of protesters as it was hit with pepper spray; his father, Tom Matthews, told the AP on Tuesday he’d learned his son would spend that night in jail.
St. Paul police officials touted their protest plans in the months leading up to the convention, saying they would best other host cities in free-speech accommodations with a 180,000-square foot space across from the Xcel Energy Center and a city-supplied microphone and stage. To Mayor Chris Coleman, a few violent demonstrators sullied an otherwise peaceful Monday and the officers’ response to instigating protesters was "nothing short of heroic."
The AP reports another round of protests are expected Wednesday.