During the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, Associated Press photojournalist Matt Rourke was arrested while covering a protest. The last shot he got off has been published now, along with his story.

Mark E. Johnson

2 Responses

  1. How did this happen? As journalists, we are constitutionally protected to do our jobs. Those police officers should have to sit through a semester’s worth of com law taught by Dr. Lee until they understand our rights.

  2. Speaking as someone who has worked protests in DC before…..

    The DC police generally would not be goaded into an sort of aggressive action, beyond mass arrests. The cops i worked around were generally respectful and would give handy suggestions like “you may want to get on the other side of the line, like now” and were generally respectful of those who clearly stood out as journalists and clearly did not look like they were part of any protest.

    That UK photographer who is in Matt Roarke’s photo looks like a protester. There’s nothing on him that clearly identifies him as a member of the press beyond a simple 3×5 laminated card. He’s dressed just like all the other protesters that are in the photo.

    This naturally does not justify the Police’s actions which appeared to target journalists, rather it should teach a small lesson to the younger/college shooters – When you cover a protest, don’t dress like the protestors.

    Protests are chaotic, dynamic and fluid environments. You have to realize whats going on and have to do your best to get the best photos possible all the whilst avoid getting arrested. If you get arrested, you can’t do your job.

    Conversely, the police have no business targeting journalists when it is clear that they are performing a constitutionally protected right of covering a news event.

    In dealing with cops, you cannot argue with them. You will never win. You can’t raise your voice with them because the instant you begin to argue with them, you’ve lost.

    There’s always going to be that trigger-happy, heavy action cop out there just as much as you’re going to have that one journalist who is going to behave equally inappropriately.

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