Editorial: Police need to improve treatment of media members

Staff Editorial

Disturbing footage circulated over the weekend showing the arrest of a reporter from KPCC, a Pasadena-based radio station.

Josie Huang had been covering protests in the area following the shooting of two L.A County Sheriff’s deputies while they sat in their car in Compton when she was tackled and violently detained by multiple officers, spending several hours in jail before being released. She was charged with obstruction.

Officials had said that Huang did not have proper credentials and did not identify herself as a reporter.

However, Huang had been recording a video at the time of her arrest and she can be heard identifying herself as a reporter in the background after her phone was knocked from her hands.

We at The Daily Eastern News are saddened by the treatment of Huang. What is even worse is that the L.A. County Sheriff’s office would so blatantly lie about the encounter, and there is no way we would know what really happened if Huang’s phone was not recording.

Huang’s arrest was not the only incident of violence between police or members of the public and members of the media so far in 2020.

While covering Black Lives Matter protests and other similar demonstrations this year, there have been more than 800 aggressions against the press, according to Committee to Protect Journalists.

According to the CPJ, 190 journalists have been attacked and 61 have been arrested while simply doing their jobs.

Members of the public should understand and respect the jobs of journalists covering protests, but many people are not educated on the role of the media.

The police in this country should certainly know the rights of journalists and not infringe on those rights.

Journalist have a right to be at these protests, and their role of providing first-person accounts of these events is extremely important.