LOS ANGELES — SAG-AFTRA today released the following statement regarding the arrest of KPCC journalist Josie Huang on Saturday:
This past Saturday, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department deputies tackled, held down, handcuffed and arrested SAG-AFTRA member Josie Huang, a public media journalist with radio station KPCC. Huang was visibly credentialed as a working journalist and verbally identified herself as a member of the press. She had done nothing to warrant questioning.
This is another deeply troubling interaction in a string of police arrests and often violent attacks on working journalists who are abiding by the law and simply trying to do their jobs.
SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said, “These unconstitutional attacks on the rights of a free press are appalling and must stop now. SAG-AFTRA champions the U. S. Constitution and the work of our journalist members, whose primary role is to provide citizens with the information they need to effectively govern a democracy.”
“The people's right to a free press is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution, which establishes that the press shall be free from government interference in the dissemination of information, ideas and opinions,” Carteris added.
SAG-AFTRA National Vice President, Broadcasters and journalist Bob Butler said, “Reporters cover the news so that the public is informed. It is outrageous that sheriff’s deputies arrested Huang, whose station identification was clearly displayed while she identified herself as a journalist several times.”
SAG-AFTRA and our members, journalists and non-journalists alike, support a free and unencumbered press and stand with any journalist who might find his or her ability to report on our government challenged or compromised.
SAG-AFTRA is calling on the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to drop all charges and apologize to Josie Huang.
We also share the statement issued by our member journalists at KPCC:
“We offer condolences to the two sheriff deputies who were shot Saturday evening. These are challenging and stressful times for everyone, but Josie 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.”
We unreservedly condemn the vicious attack on the deputies in Compton Saturday night and hope that their assailant is caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We send our heartfelt wishes for the deputies’ full and complete recoveries, and express our deep gratitude to them and to their colleagues who work to keep our communities safe while respecting our rights as citizens in a democratic society.
For firsthand reporting on Huang’s arrest, visit: https://twitter.com/josie_huang/status/1305331513592967168
To find out more about the First Amendment and the rights of a free press, visit: https://www.sagaftra.org/importance-free-press and https://www.spj.org/