Last weekend, thousands of people protested the failure of a jury to charge Officer Jeronimo Yanez for shooting Philando Castile last July. Yanez had charges of manslaughter and public endangerment for firing his firearm while Castile’s family was present in the car.
During the day of protests, protesters resorted to blocking Interstate 94. This drew more police officers to the scene and led to the eventual arrest of many protesters. Covering the protests, the Minnesota Daily’s Campus Editor David Clarey was arrested, along with another journalist from the City Pages.
The police officers who arrested the protesters were in part doing their job. Interstate highways cannot be shut down for extended periods of time, as this becomes hazardous for everyone. However, the importance of reporting on these issues cannot be understated. It’s important for the voices of those protesting to be heard.
Part of the Minnesota Daily’s mission is to empower the voices of the students on campus and the greater Twin Cities area. This cannot be done on the sidelines; it occurs after actively engaging with the people who are protesting. Arresting journalists also distracts from the pertinent reasons of protest.
We urge the police departments involved to not arrest journalists for doing their job. While police officers will continue to do their job in maintaining order, allowing journalists to conduct their coverage of an ongoing and highly sensitive issue is an important part of making our community function.