Journalists for the Daily Caller as well as independent press who were covering protests and demonstrations in Wisconsin reported that they were detained and hit by police in Wauwatosa despite providing press credentials.
Shelby Talcott of the the Daily Caller reported that she and her colleague Richie McGinniss were "detained/almost arrested."
"Officers kicked me and hit me with a billy club and repeatedly hit Richie with a club (we were not resisting). Luckily, an officer came while we were waiting in the police van and recognized that we were press."
Talcott said that she and McGinniss were released and neither arrested nor detained further. However, Talcott said that Brendan Gutenschwager, an independent journalist who has been covering civil unrest across the US in the wake of George Floyd's May 25th death, as well as Blair Nelson of Campus Reform, were not released from police custody at that time.
In reporting on her interaction with police and the events that occurred, Talcott said that McGinniss showed his press credentials prior to being detained and hit by officers.
Talcott, who was also covering protests in Louisville after officers who were involved in the police shooting of Breonna Taylor were not indicted on murder charges, and was arrested there, compared the two experiences. She held up the freedom of the press, as enshrined in the First Amendment, and remarked that these press freedoms are integral if the truth is to be reported.
McGinniss reported that it was while he was filming an arrest that he was approached by officers. He can be heard on video giving his press credentials to officers before those officers knock him to the ground. Talcott's voice is also heard, saying that she is also press with the Daily Caller.
Talcott's arrest in Louisville also came after she had identified herself to officers as press, as did the arrest of Daily Caller reporter Jorge Ventura. The Daily Caller reported that these journalists were held despite calls from Geoffrey Ingersoll, Daily Caller editor-in-chief, giving their credentials as press. Talcott and Ventura both face charges in Louisville stemming from those incidents.
The summer has seen protests and riots across the country, and independent journalists and reporters from smaller media outlets have been covering them while mainstream media has appeared to shy away from doing so.
Riots in the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Daniel Prude, and Jacob Blake, each of whom was involved in altercations with police that allegedly led to their deaths, or permanent injury in the case of Blake, have been seen in every major metropolitan area in the US.
Wauwatosa, Wisc. is the most recent addition to the list of cities rocked by civil unrest, and comes after Officer Joseph Mensah, who shot Alvin Cole, 17, at the Mayfair Mall in February after Cole had allegedly fired a stolen handgun, was not indicted on criminal charges for Cole's death.
A stated raison d'etre of the protests and riots has been police brutality. Calls to "defund the police" have been a major aspect of these demonstrations.
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