Friday, December 14, 2007

Reporter arrested for photographing fire

In Maumelle, Arkansas, a longtime newspaper reporter and cancer patient has been arrested because he did his job. The journalist attempted to photograph a small house fire and was promptly arrested by a state trooper with a bad attitude.

During the arrest, the reporter was not read his rights. (That happened to me once.) The cop said he saw the press credential on the reporter's windshield and on the ID around his neck but that it was meaningless. This despite the fact that state police had earlier advised the journalist that he would be allowed to photograph all fires and accidents as long as he had his credentials with him.

He was handcuffed and forced to stand still for a half-hour until he could barely move. Then, when he squirmed to ease the unbearable pain, the trooper yelled at him to stop resisting. The cop then seized a $1,500 camera from the reporter and handled it very roughly.

This is how they treat a 59-year-old man who had cancer and takes kidney medication?

Because of the state trooper's bad attitude and arbitrary actions, the reporter wasn't allowed to see firefighters' heroism in saving the house from further damage and rescuing the residents. Because he didn't see the firefighters' efforts, he wasn't able to report on them.

Naturally, rightists are using comment sections of websites to rush to the discourteous trooper's defense and attack the reporter.


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