Charge dropped against journalist arrested at St. Louis protest
A trespassing charge has been dropped against journalist Ty Bayliss, who was arrested while covering a Black Lives Matter protest in St. Louis, Missouri, in October 2017, according to a representative for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
Bayliss, then a cameraman and editor for the progressive online news organization The Young Turks, was caught up in a police “kettle” of protesters at the Oct. 3, 2017, demonstration and was held at a St. Louis jail before being released on Oct. 4.
The police representative said in a response to the Tracker's emailed query that, to their knowledge, neither the city counselor nor the circuit attorney pursued charges. The Tracker is listing the date of charges dropped as one year from Bayliss’s arrest, when the statute of limitations expired.
Ty Bayliss — a cameraman and editor for the progressive online news organization The Young Turks — was arrested along with reporter Jordan Chariton after filming a demonstration in St. Louis on Oct. 3, 2017.
That day, protesters in St. Louis shut down Highway 40, marching on the interstate and blocking traffic. The demonstration was a response to the acquittal in September of Jason Stockley, a white former St. Louis police officer who in 2011 fatally shot Anthony Lamar Smith, a Black man.
Chariton and Bayliss followed the group and interviewed protesters as they marched on the highway. After the group of protesters exited the highway, lines of police officers enclosed them in a "kettle" and then ordered them to sit on the ground and began to arrest them. Chariton, Bayliss and other journalists covering the march were also arrested.
"Our reporter @JordanChariton and cameraman/editor Ty Bayliss have been arrested by St. Louis Police. Clear violation of first amendment," TYT founder and host Cenk Uygur tweeted. "TYT reporter & cameraman were covering St. Louis protests when police surrounded them and arrested them. We demand their immediate release."
TYT published a video on Youtube, filmed by Bayliss, that shows police arresting both him and Chariton. Bayliss appears to be one of the first people arrested.
Bayliss and Chariton were arrested despite wearing press badges and telling police officers on the scene that they were members of the press. Officers told them that they were under arrest "for being on the highway."
Uygur, the founder of TYT, criticized the arrests of Bayliss and Chariton in a short video statement posted on Youtube.
"We're demanding their immediate release," Uygur says in the video. "This is outrageous. We had camera guys there because that's our job. There is a very legitimate and ongoing protest in St. Louis. They believe that the community is not being treated fairly, and we went to go cover it. That's exactly what we're supposed to do as the press. Apparently, the police didn't like that. You can hear people on the scene saying that they're arresting people with cameras first. So it's the exact opposite of what they're supposed to do. They're supposed to let the press do their jobs, and they didn't."
After being detained for almost 20 hours, Bayliss and Chariton were released from jail.