Stun grenades deployed by police

Reporter Alex Stokes charged with rioting at Trump inauguration protest

January 20, 2017

Alexander Stokes — an independent journalist whose show was broadcast on Albany Public Access TV news show — was arrested on Jan. 20, 2017, while covering protests on the day of President Donald Trump's inauguration. Stokes, whose full name is Alexander Stokes Contompasis, stated that he was never asked for press credentials despite informing officers that he was press, and his cell phone and two cameras were seized by police during his arrest.

He was charged with the highest level of offense under Washington D.C.’s law against rioting, which applies when there are injuries as a result of the activity or property damage in excess of $5,000, which can be punished by a maximum of 10 years in jail and fines of up to $25,000.

On Feb. 21, the charges against Stokes were dropped. On March 1, his cameras and cell phone were returned, though he told Buzzfeed that he was uncertain whether they had been searched.

Stokes is now a member of "Press Connection," a group that advocates for those still facing criminal charges in connection with the Inauguration protests.

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

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