The Daily Caller is now threatening to sue the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department (LMPD) after two of its reporters were allegedly arrested and charged with misdemeanors while covering the riots in Louisville, KY, on Wednesday night following the grand jury decision to charge just one of the officers in the death of Breonna Taylor.
Reporters Shelby Talcott and Jorge Ventura were part of a mass detention of demonstrators who were instructed to get on the ground shortly before midnight, according to footage Talcott posted to Twitter. Despite identifying herself as the press a number of times, the two were handcuffed with zip-ties and taken to the detainment cell, according to the Daily Wire.
Daily Caller Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Ingersoll tweeted late on Wednesday that he had notified LMPD of his reporters’ arrest while in the capacity of press reporting for an accredited media outlet. “My expectation is that they will be swiftly released,” he said, but learned later that Talcott and Ventura “will be processed and charged like everyone else, despite my best efforts to alert official channels that they were operating in the capacity of press at a live news event.”
Ingersoll soon added that the two reporters would be “charged with two misdemeanors related to breaking curfew and unlawful assembly for their alleged failure to comply with police orders to disperse and for press to relegate themselves to an ‘observation area.’”
Another Daily Caller reporter, Richie McGinniss, said Talcott described her conditions to him as “absurd,” adding, “I am packed in with 28 other people in a 20×20 cell. Not all of us have masks, and there is not enough room so people are sleeping on the floor.” McGinniss followed this up by saying that the two reporters “have been processed for release, but will not actually be out for another 24 hours or more[.]”
The Daily Caller noted that “Attorney Neil Patel, the co-founder and publisher of The Daily Caller, had earlier expressed concern for the reporters’ safety. Patel threatened litigation in a statement posted to Twitter on Thursday morning:
The Louisville police arrested two of our employees Wednesday night. We have informed the police that these are reporters who were peacefully doing their job, but they are still refusing to release them. They will not even let us speak with them. Given the fact that our reporters have been repeatedly harassed, punched and even shot at during past protests, we fear for their safety in lockup with people who may want to do them harm.
No other news outlet has been on the ground at more protests and riots, and none have done a more balanced job of telling the public what is happening. We appreciate the difficult situation that officers are in trying to balance their own safety while allowing protestors to exercise their First Amendment rights.
Unlike other outlets, we have interviewed police about this and told their side of the story. But this is not China. Those reporters flat out have a constitutionally protected role to play on our streets. The Louisville Police Department is going to find out all about this in the form of a lawsuit unless things start changing fast.
This comes as 127 people were arrested following protests and riots that broke out amid the decision by a grand jury to charge just one of the officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor earlier this year.
The Courier Journal reported that “the Metro Corrections booking log website was not able to be accessed Wednesday night or Thursday morning, but department spokesman Lamont Washington said in a 2:20 a.m. update that the number of arrests, which took place over curfew and unlawful assembly violations, was ‘closer to 100.'”
“Fellow LMPD spokesman Dwight Mitchell told media members just before 8:30 a.m. that a total of 127 people had been arrested.”