“Your First Amendment rights can be terminated if you’re creating a scene or whatever,” the officer said.
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Chicago police took two members of the media into custody Saturday, including an NBC Chicago photographer.
Photographer Donte Williams and WGN Reporter Dan Ponce were detained as they attempted to cover the story of a 6-year-old girl who was shot and killed. Crews were standing on a sidewalk outside Mt. Sinai Hospital, where the girl had been taken.
The hospital apparently called police, complaining of trespassers. The news crews, at the request of police officers, said they had already moved from a public sidewalk directly in front of the hospital, to a median halfway across the street.
But police disputed that, saying hospital security guards told them news crews had tried to get past them into a secure area of the hospital. Reporters say they did not go into the hospital.
“I went over to the hopsital with community activist Andrew Holmes and went up to the front door of the hospital. Family members were there and they were obviously upset,” said NBC Chicago Reporter Christian Farr. “I stared right at security guards who stared right at me and never said anything to me. I never went into the hospital.”
WGN is one of the best local news organizations in the US, and CPD has already been admonished for accosting civilians recording police conduct. That no charges were filed and no evidence was offered that the reporters did anything wrong indicates that a couple officers need even more training on the Constitution.2 views