Six journalists were arrested in DC last Friday during inauguration unrest, and the charges sound like the prelude to a repressive authoritarian regime.
The charges are vague, and were applied to a fairly large group of people who were all swept up in a mass arrest. The Guardian:
An arrest report for Engel provided by Washington DC’s metropolitan police department said he was arrested after hundreds of people gathered at the intersection and “numerous crimes were occurring in police presence”.
“The crowd was observed enticing a riot by organizing, promoting, encouraging, and participating in acts of violence in furtherance of the riot,” the police narrative said. “The crowd was observed braking [sic] windows, lighting fires, vandalizing police vehicles, burned a limousine, and other acts of violence. The damage was determined to excess $5,000.00.”
An arrest report for Rubinstein stated only that “numerous individual [sic] were arrested” for violating the district’s laws against rioting.
Jack Keller, a producer for the web documentary series Story of America, said he was charged and detained for about 36 hours after being kettled by police at 12th and L streets on Friday morning and arrested despite telling officers that he was covering the demonstrations as a journalist.
Some 200 people were arrested, and the National Lawyers’ Guild said the police had “indiscriminately targeted people for arrest en masse based on location alone”. That’s pretty clearly just designed to suppress dissent and discourage reporting on any resistance. Being in an area where crimes are being committed should not be grounds for arrest and detention.
The Guardian report on the first two – and then four more.