U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Daily Mail photographer arrested while covering Portland protest

Incident Details

Date of Incident
August 7, 2020
Portland, Oregon

Arrest/Criminal Charge

Arresting Authority
Portland Police Bureau
  • Trespassing
    • Aug. 7, 2020: Charges pending
    • Aug. 31, 2020: Charges dropped
Unnecessary use of force?
October 20, 2022 - Update

No charges remain against Daily Mail journalist arrested in 2020

The Oregon Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office confirmed to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that no charges remain against Daily Mail journalist Michael Arellano, who was arrested while covering a Black Lives Matter protest in August 2020.

The DA’s office said in October 2022 that the DA either declined to prosecute Arellano or dropped all charges against him as of August of this year. Arellano did not respond to a request for comment by the Tracker in 2022.

August 7, 2020

Daily Mail photographer Michael Arellano was arrested on Aug. 7, 2020, while covering a protest in northeast Portland, Oregon.

The protest was one of many that broke out across the U.S. in response to police violence and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement following the May 25 death of George Floyd. The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting assaults, arrests and other incidents involving journalists covering protests across the country.

Law enforcement officers in Portland have targeted journalists since the outbreak of the demonstrations in late May, according to a class-action lawsuit filed in June by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon. The ACLU suit led to the city agreeing to a preliminary injunction in July to not arrest, harm or impede the work of journalists or legal observers of the protests.

The protesters began at Laurelhurst Park in southeast Portland and marched to the Penumbra Kelly Building on East Burnside Street and 47th Avenue, according to The Oregonian. The building, which houses the Multnomah County Sheriff's office and some Portland Police Bureau units, has been a repeated focus of demonstrators.

Within a few minutes of the crowd’s arrival, police declared an “unlawful assembly.” Officers moved toward a group of journalists standing near the Kelly building, The Oregonian reported. “The journalists, including an Oregonian/OregonLive photographer, were staying behind a line of orange cones that police had set up. Police moved in and detained one photographer working on behalf of The Daily Mail,” the paper reported, identifying him as Arellano.

In a statement about the night’s police actions, the PPB said it had announced that anyone remaining on the Kelly building property would be arrested for trespassing. “People who remained standing on the property after multiple public address announcements were arrested,” the PPB said. Arellano was booked for criminal trespassing in the second degree.

At 9:48 p.m., independent journalist Griffin Malone tweeted a video of Arellano’s arrest from across the street. In the video, Arellano doesn’t appear to be behind the cones with the other members of the press, but it’s also not apparent that he was on the Kelly building property. Officers can be seen pulling him backwards toward the building during the arrest.

Photojournalist Nathan Howard retweeted the video and added, “Here's Michael Arellano photographer with the @DailyMail getting arrested for no apparent reason tonight. He has been covering this for weeks. No warnings, no dispersal order (which press are immune to anyway).”

The Oregonian reported that police “were keeping the loudspeakers farther away from the crowd than usual,” making it difficult for protesters to hear announcements.

The PPB has said it wouldn't comment on incidents involving journalists covering the protests, citing continuing litigation in the ACLU case. Arellano didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].