U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Videojournalist detained during Sacramento protests

Incident Details

June 1, 2020

Jeoffrey Zingapan, co-founder of Black Zebra Productions, was briefly detained while on assignment for the Sacramento Bee covering demonstrations in Sacramento, California, on June 1, 2020.

According to the Bee, June 1 was the first night of a citywide curfew. In a FacebookLive video on Black Zebra’s page captured by Zingapan’s reporting partner shortly after 11 p.m., Zingapan can be seen standing on a public sidewalk surrounded by several Sacramento Police Department officers. According to the Bee, officers detained him while he was filming an arrest on the public sidewalk.

Zingapan, who appears to be wearing a yellow safety vest, was placed in handcuffs and questioned by officers for at least five minutes after the livestream began.

Zingapan and Black Zebra Productions did not respond to messages requesting comment.

The Bee posted a statement following Zingapan’s arrest on Facebook: “We want to be clear: The Bee supports Black Zebra — and all media — to independently report and produce journalism. Detaining working journalists is not acceptable.”

The outlet also confirmed that it had hired the Black Zebra reporting team and issued them Sacramento Bee credentials so they could produce documentaries on demonstrations in the city for the news outlet.

According to the Bee’s post, the police department assured them that moving forward the Black Zebra team would “be afforded the same freedoms to report as other media outlets.”

The Sacramento Police Department did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

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