Beverly Hills Courier staff writer Samuel Braslow was one of at least five journalists detained while covering election-related protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in Los Angeles, California, on Nov. 4, 2020.
Braslow confirmed to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that he was documenting a protest outside City Hall in downtown L.A. that evening. When the event dispersed at 6:30 p.m., a small group of remaining demonstrators walked south down Spring Street toward Pershing Square, according to accounts from other journalists present that night.
By 7:30 p.m., the approximately 40 to 50 people who remained had stopped at the intersection of West 5th and South Hill streets. Los Angeles police officers arrived on motorcycles within minutes and announced that the gathering was an unlawful assembly, journalists reported.
Multiple journalists reported that officers then hemmed in everyone present using a police tactic called kettling, and announced that everyone was under arrest. Braslow confirmed to the Tracker that he was among the journalists caught in the kettle.
Two videographers were placed under arrest for failure to disperse and the remaining members of the press were directed to a media staging area within the kettle.
The Tracker has documented the detentions of all the journalists confirmed to have been present in the kettle here.
According to journalists’ accounts, LAPD officers opened the kettle shortly after 8 p.m. and released the remaining members of the press and demonstrators who had been detained, including Braslow
When asked for comment about the arrests, Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson Capt. Stacy Spell confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that two individuals had been arrested and cited for failure to disperse. She also claimed that LAPD officers have been dealing with large, disruptive crowds that all subsequently claim to be members of the press.
“We are having an ongoing challenge with individuals who are participating in disruptive activities, taking over the street and failing to disperse but subsequently claiming to be media,” Spell said. “Literally the entire crowd claimed to be media.”
The LAPD did not respond to an emailed request for further comment.