Four more journalists have been charged with felonies after covering the Inauguration Day protests, following the charging of one journalist among a larger group of protesters earlier this week. The latest people charged include a documentary producer, photojournalist, live-streamer, and a freelance reporter. They were arrested during the unrest in Washington D.C. the day of President Trump’s inauguration.
As of now, those charged have been arraigned and are now waiting to attend hearings in the coming months. According to The Guardian Jack Keller, a documentarian that reportedly made clear that he was a journalist before being detained for 36 hours and attests that he took no part in vandalism or rioting, says of the experience, “The way we were treated was an absolute travesty.” In response, his editor Annabel Park said “It is a maddening and frustrating situation. These are people who were there observing and documenting.”
It should come as no surprise that the Committee to Protect Journalists has publicly come out and said that these charges should be dropped, but in this political climate that is surely not a given. The total number of journalists reported to be charged for similar offenses is now up to six, including from outlets RT America and Vocativ. None of the arrests specify exactly why each journalist was even brought into custody in the first place and the US attorney’s office said it is still “reviewing” the cases but they “determined that probable cause existed to support the filing of felony rioting charges.” Felony rioting charges come with the possibility of up to 10 years in jail and a $25,000 fine.
(via The Guardian)