Video: Interview with Photographer Alisen Redmond, Detained at Occupy
For the past two months, police forces across the nation have worked to break up Occupy encampments in New York, Boston, Nashville, Portland, Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, and Atlanta, among others. During the break ups, not only were protesters arrested in their encampments, but journalists and photographers—some with clear press credentials, others working as citizen and student journalists—were also cuffed and detained by police. The OccupyArrests twitter feed’s most recent total of arrests is at 5,480, and at the time of writing, the total of arrested journalists is 34. Of that number, at least 14 have been photographers.
On November 6th photographer Alisen Redmond spent 14 hours in jail after she was arrested during the break-up of Occupy Atlanta. Redmond is a journalist for The Sentinel at Kennesaw State University. She and a fellow journalist, Judith Kim, were charged with obstruction of traffic on a closed street. However, in an interview after her release Redmond pointed out that she was standing near several television news crews, and that she was in the street to avoid arrest for being in Woodruff Park, the location of Occupy Atlanta’s encampment. Redmond and Kim both identified themselves to police as student journalists working on their assignments, but were arrested along with eight protesters.
Interview video with photojournalist Alisen Redmond
While certain organizations have already taken issue with the arrests of journalists with clear press credentials—and the difficulty of obtaining such credentials—photography is protected under the first amendment as a form of freedom of speech.
On December 1, a petition signed by 40,000 people, calling for U.S. mayors to end the arrests of journalists, and protect the first amendment for press, was presented to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, president of the United States Conference of Mayors.
But, on December 12, despite an order from NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly to not interfere with the press, journalists trying to report on an Occupy Wall Street protest outside of a Midtown fund-raiser for President Barack Obama were still harassed, and barred from photography.