Two Minneapolis reporters were arrested Friday night during a confrontation between law enforcement and those protesting the acquittal of Philando Castile’s shooter.
Susan Du, a City Pages reporter, and Minnesota Daily Campus Editor David Clarey were among the 18 arrested by the Minnesota State Patrol for lingering on Interstate 94 at the end of Friday’s protests and were held in Ramsey County’s Adult Detention Center overnight.
Clarey was arrested at about 12:40 a.m. Saturday and was released around 9:30 a.m. Du was arrested and released around the same time as Clarey.
He was charged with two misdemeanors, unlawful assembly and public nuisance, said Minnesota Daily Editor in Chief Mike Hendrickson.
Clarey, whose live stream of the protest on the social media platform Periscope was cut short with his own arrest, said the experience was shocking.
Clarey said he didn’t expect police to arrest a journalist.
“I really felt, as a reporter, my duty was to continue covering what was happening and getting arrested for that decision seems absurd,” he said in an email.
He said while he could have reported on the protests from afar, he decided to stay within the crowd for better coverage.
“He was super immersed in the reporting of his story to the point that he wasn’t concerned for his safety,” Du said.
Du said she had been more aware of her surroundings than Clarey, as she has often taken on the duty of covering protests in the past.
She said she was retreating with other journalists near the side of the interstate when police began to move in, but narrowly failed to evade the circle of troopers at the last minute.
Hendrickson said the arrest won’t affect Clarey’s work at the Minnesota Daily, nor should it hold any negative repercussions for the newspaper.
“I’ve never heard of a previous incident like this at the Daily,” Hendrickson said. “But I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s happened before.”
Hendrickson said it remains to be seen whether the Minnesota Daily will update reporter training in view of the arrest.
Clarey said no changes necessarily need to be made for reporting training.
In these cases, journalists need to be able to assess the best course of action, he said, even though that decision making process can be tricky.
“I don’t think we need to ‘self-police’ journalists any further,” Clarey said. “We need to trust our own ability to make decisions.”
Du said there are always risks that go along with reporting stories, including the possibility of being caught up in protest arrests. Still, she said the biggest downside is when these events detract from the overall story, in this case the not guilty verdict for former St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez.
“It’s always unfortunate when a reporter has to take part in the story unwittingly,” Du said.
Nick Wicker contributed to this report.