Knight Center
Knight Center


U.S. journalists arrested, roughed up while covering Occupy Wall Street protests

The arrests of at least three U.S. reporters covering the Occupy Wall Street protests, coupled with reporters who have been maced and beaten with police batons, is further complicating the debate over who is a journalist and the "everyone’s-a-journalist rhetoric that defines our media these days," according to the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR).

As CRJ explained, reporters covering the protests must have press credentials issued by the New York Police Department. In order to obtain such a press pass, the NYPD requires that applicants be "a member of the media who covers, in person, emergency, spot or breaking news events and/or public events of a non-emergency nature." Applicants also must submit "six published clips that prove you have covered breaking or spot news in the past," CJR said.

Such requirements are problematic, CJR pointed out, as it puts police in the role of determining who is a journalist, and journalists could be denied access simply because they don't normally cover breaking news, or because they are freelancers or new reporters, or because they are writing for a blog or new online start-up, so they don't have the requisite number of clips in order to get a press pass.

The cases of three journalists arrested while covering the Occupy Wall Street protests illustrate this problem, CJR said, as the reporters "couldn’t have obtained [the press credentials] had they tried."

Natasha Lennard, a freelancer for The New York Times’s City Blog, did not have a press pass and so was charged with disorderly conduct and detained for five hours as the NY Times worked to free her, according to a blog post she wrote.

Alternet freelancer Kristen Gwynne also was detained during the protests, reporting via phone, "They're arresting us one by one."

Similarly, MetroFocus reporter John Farley spent eight hours in jail, despite telling police he was with the press.

Beyond the arrests, the Atlantic Wire has documented several cases of reporters being pepper sprayed and struck with police batons while covering the protests.

For example, a television photographer and reporter were roughed up by police while covering the protests, according to Fox 5 in New York. Photographer Roy Isen was pepper sprayed in the eyes and reporter Dick Brennan was hit by a police baton. Police issued a statement saying that the journalists were "inadvertently struck by police," Fox 5 said.

Meanwhile, the Washington, D.C.-based Partnership for Civil Justice Fund has filed a federal class action lawsuit against New York City, alleging violations of the Fourth and First Amendments, claiming that police officers' comments that the arrests would make demonstrators "think twice" before protesting again amount to "chilling" speech and thus are unconstitutional, explained Gawker.

Other Related Headlines:
» The New York Times (A protest's ink-stained fingers)


almarokz wrote 6 years 5 days ago

Real Violation

I think this is not the worst crime against journalist, if you just heard of the Maguindanao Massacre, you can't imagine how brutal it was..

camarabara wrote 6 years 3 weeks ago

This is violence against

This is violence against freedom of expression! Why do they have to do this!

Clinton Andrews wrote 6 years 20 weeks ago

Government is like? Dont put us on shame!

I dont like the police did something for the protesters..America has enough of it..the wall street protest just testifies everything that the people on this country is seek and tired of what is going on!.

ALICE CONNALLY FISK wrote 6 years 28 weeks ago


(Score: Battle Hymn of the Republic)

In Revolution No. 2, Big Business is The King

with power absolute through politicians on a string.

To their Empire, known as Congress, corporate lobbyists all bring

Campaign donations huge...

Countless millions get the royal shaft from Industry so big --

minor wages, zero health care, part-time, temps, the downsize gig,

layoffs, furloughs -- yet, a Congress jumping to the corporate jig.

The fight for justice dawns...

Untold millions have NO health care nor a LIVING wage to boot.

Insolvent grow our working poor while the rich take all the loot.

When government’s don’t listen, insurrectionists recruit.

The fight for justice moves...

March united, risen people as our rebels rose before.

Let corporate Kings, by peasant sweat, give royal shafts no more.

OFF our knees, empowered, dauntless, all oppressors hear us roar --

We’ll Mobilize and WIN!

Chorus: Glory, glory, Alleluia! Glory, glory, Alleluia!

Glory, glory, Alleluia! Folks mobilized and WON!.

Repeat Chorus

© 1996, Alice Connally Fisk


Alice Connally Fisk, 11 Pineview Place, Melrose, NY 12121

Josh Stearns wrote 6 years 28 weeks ago

Tracking journalist arrests

I have been tracking journalist arrests at Occupy protests for the past few weeks. Please send tips my way:

Frank wrote 6 years 28 weeks ago

It is good that finally

It is good that finally something is happening. People need to just go on the streets. The police force is not necessary, as in many cases.
It's a shame what the police deal with protesters.

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