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SPJ condemns arrest of freelance reporter at UCLA and demands charges be dropped


Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins, SPJ National President, ashanti.blaize@gmail.com
Caroline Hendrie, SPJ Executive Director, chendrie@hq.spj.org
Kim Tsuyuki, SPJ Communications Specialist, ktsuyuki@hq.spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists condemns today’s arrest of freelance journalist Sean Beckner-Carmitchel at the University of California, Los Angeles and demands that authorities immediately drop a criminal charge against him.

Beckner-Carmitchel was arrested Monday morning while recording video as police detained dozens of UCLA protesters in a parking structure. Beckner-Carmitchel faces a charge of misdemeanor conspiracy to commit a crime.

“This unwarranted arrest flagrantly violates Sean’s First Amendment right to film police and protesters on public property,” said SPJ National President Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins. “It was to curb exactly this sort of over-reaction by law enforcement officials that a coalition of journalism organizations, media unions and First Amendment advocacy groups pushed successfully for California’s Senate Bill 98, which Governor Newsom signed into law two years ago.”

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