Freelance journalist Andrew Jasiura was detained and held for two hours by law enforcement while covering protests in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 13, 2020. Jasiura was released without charges after a Metropolitan Police Department lieutenant recognized him, the journalist told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.
On the evening of Aug. 13 and into the morning of Aug. 14, protestors demonstrating against police brutality and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement marched through the neighborhood of Adams Morgan, according to local news reports. Protestors were surrounded and corralled on 18th Street NW, between Florida Avenue and Willard Street, by police officers who then began arresting people in the crowd, according to news reports. In a statement, the Metropolitan Police Department said that officers arrested 41 people on charges of “Felony Riot Acts and Assault on a Police Officer offenses” and alleged that protestors had also been involved in acts of arson and destruction of property.
Jasiura, who has been covering Black Lives Matter protests for several months as an independent photographer and filmmaker, was among those detained. Jasiura told the Tracker that he repeatedly told police officers he was a member of the press and showed them his press credential, but they ignored him. He said he also received no answer when he asked repeatedly if he was being detained or arrested, but when he asked if he could leave, he was told no. After about two hours, Jasiura said police officers began taking people one by one into custody, including his colleague Kian Kelley-Chung, and driving them away to jail. The Tracker has documented Kelley-Chung’s arrest here.
Jasiura said he was told to put his hands behind his back, and an officer was putting zip ties around his wrists, when another officer recognized him. That officer “knew I was press, and I had my press credentials, so he let me go,” Jasiura told the Tracker. The officers returned Jasiura’s possessions to him and released him without charge in the early hours of Aug. 14.
The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting several hundred incidents of journalists assaulted, arrested, struck by crowd control ammunition or tear gas or had their equipment damaged while covering protests across the country. Find these incidents here.