- Date of Incident
- October 3, 2017
- Arrest Status
- Arrested and released
- Arresting Authority
- St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department
- Oct. 4, 2017: Charges pending
- Unnecessary use of force?
Jordan Chariton, a reporter for the progressive online news organization The Young Turks, was arrested along with cameraman Ty Bayliss 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 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.
"So they're arresting, it seems, journalists who covered a peaceful demonstration," Chariton can be heard saying in the video, aafter Bayliss is arrested. "I thought there was a freedom of the press and a First Amendment, but I guess not in St. Louis."
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, Chariton and Bayliss were released from jail.
The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected]