- Date of Incident
- February 22, 2017
- Morton County, North Dakota
- Jahnny Lee (Sundance Institute)
- Arrest Status
- Arrested and released
- Arresting Authority
- Morton County Sheriff's Department
Obstruction: physical obstruction of a government function
- Feb. 22, 2017: Charges pending
- Apr. 27, 2018: Charges dropped
- Obstruction: physical obstruction of a government function
- Unnecessary use of force?
- Equipment Seized
- Status of Seized Equipment
- Returned in full
- Search Warrant Obtained
- Actor who seized equipment
- Law enforcement
Equipment Search or Seizure
Lee's charge of physical obstruction was dismissed on April 27, 2018.
Law enforcement returns equipment seized during filmmaker’s arrest
The Morton County Sheriff’s Department returned equipment seized from filmmaker Jahnny Lee on Feb. 25, 2017, three days after he was arrested while documenting protests at Standing Rock.
Deputies seized Lee’s cell phone and camera during his arrest on charges of obstruction of a government function. Lee confirmed to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker in November 2021 that the devices had been returned.
Jahnny Lee, a filmmaker working with the Sundance Institute, was arrested on Feb. 22, 2017, while filming a standoff between police and protesters at Standing Rock. On the day of his arrest, Lee was filming on Highway 1806, along with Jack Smith IV. During his arrest, Lee’s camera and phone were seized.
Reed Lindsay, who witnessed the arrest, claimed on Facebook that police initially told journalists that they could film events on Highway 1806, but then later arrested journalists who did so.
Lee was charged with physical obstruction of government function, a Class A misdemeanor that could result in a year in jail. He is scheduled to go to trial in June 2018.
The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected]