Josie Huang, a reporter for the Los Angeles radio station KPCC and news site LAist, was arrested on Saturday night while she was covering the shooting of two sheriff’s deputies in Compton, Calif.
The arrest occurred outside the St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, Calif., where the two deputies were being treated for gunshot wounds after they were shot by a gunman earlier that night. Protesters had gathered outside the hospital, where there was a “tense situation developing,” Huang wrote in a tweet before her arrest.
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Twitter account, protesters were blocking the entrance to the hospital, and police officers ordered them to disperse because they were an “unlawful assembly.” Officers arrested Huang and a male protester for obstruction, and claimed Huang did not identify herself as a member of the press or have proper credentials.
“The female adult, who was later identified as a member of the press, did not identify herself as press and later admitted she did not have proper press credentials on her person,” the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department tweeted.
However, in a video from Los Angeles news station ABC 7, Huang’s press badge is clearly hanging from her neck during her arrest. In the video, five officers pinned Huang to the ground, handcuffed her and led her to a police car.
Huang was taken to the Century Regional Detention Center and was released at 4 a.m. on Sunday without bail, according to the LAist. She was cited with an obstruction charge.
“We offer condolences to the two sheriff deputies who were shot Saturday evening. These are challenging and stressful times for everyone, but Josie Huang was arrested while doing her job. The charges should be dropped. Her arrest is the latest in a series of troubling interactions between our reporters and some local law enforcement officers. Journalists provide an essential service, providing fair, accurate and timely journalism and without them, our democracy is at risk,” KPCC said in a statement.
Both President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden condemned the shooting.