U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Freelance photojournalist detained, cited at Reno rally

Incident Details

Date of Incident
October 20, 2023
Reno, Nevada

Arrest/Criminal Charge

Arresting Authority
Reno Police Department
Detention Date
Release Date
Unnecessary use of force?
AllThingsReno.Net/Michelle Renée Dumont

Freelance photojournalist Eric Marks was detained and cited under Nevada’s jaywalking law while documenting a pro-Palestinian gathering in Reno on Oct. 20, 2023.

— AllThingsReno.Net/Michelle Renée Dumont
October 25, 2023 - Update

Freelance photojournalist pays Reno rally jaywalking fine

Freelance photojournalist Eric Marks on Oct. 25, 2023, paid the fine associated with the civil citation he was issued while documenting a pro-Palestinian gathering in Reno, Nevada, five days prior.

Marks told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker he was on assignment for the news website This Is Reno when officers ordered him and other journalists, who were documenting the demonstration from the median in front of the courthouse, to cross to a sidewalk despite oncoming traffic.

When Marks attempted to turn around to go to the opposite side of the street — which he said police designated as an option — he was detained by officers who held him in handcuffs in a nearby parking garage for 30 minutes. He was later released with a citation for crossing a roadway outside of a marked crosswalk, the state’s jaywalking law.

Court records reviewed by the Tracker confirm that Marks paid the $123 fine, at which point a Nov. 21 arraignment hearing was waived.

Marks told the Tracker it was easier to pay the fine — which This Is Reno reimbursed — than to fight the citation.

“What is there to fight? It’s my word against a Reno police officer,” Marks said. “Was I jaywalking, technically? Yes. Did he order me to jaywalk? Yes.”

October 20, 2023

Freelance photojournalist Eric Marks was handcuffed and issued a citation while documenting a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Reno, Nevada, on Oct. 20, 2023, according to a news report.

This Is Reno reported that Marks, whose website says he freelances for the digital news outlet as well as the Reno News & Review, was among multiple members of the press documenting the Reno Rally for Palestine in front of the Bruce R. Thompson Federal Building and Courthouse. The outlet published his photo-essay from the rally.

Marks told the outlet that while members of the press have often reported on protests from the median on Virginia Street, that day the police ordered them to walk across the street despite oncoming traffic. Marks said he refused.

A police spokesperson told This Is Reno that Marks was told to go to the east sidewalk, toward the courthouse, and was warned to avoid the median. Marks said he followed their directions, but that officers ordered them to walk into traffic twice, which This Is Reno confirmed in video from the incident.

An officer then grabbed Marks, twisted his arm behind his back and rushed him across the street before handcuffing and detaining him for 30 minutes in a nearby parking garage, according to the outlet.

Marks told This Is Reno that officers told him he was under arrest and ultimately gave him a citation for crossing a roadway outside of a marked crosswalk, the state’s jaywalking law.

Marks did not respond to requests for comment. The Reno Police Department did not immediately respond to a voicemail requesting additional information.

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