Feb. 23, 2018 – The NewsGuild-CWA condemned the arrest of Michael Faulk, a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who was covering protests in the city in September when he was arrested.
Faulk was caught in a “kettle,” a controversial police technique used to corral groups of protesters. His press credentials were clearly visible when he was arrested, photos show.
Prior to the arrest, while standing on the sidewalk and offering no resistance, Faulk was knocked to the ground and pinned by a police officer who put his boot on Faulk’s head. Faulk was then pepper-sprayed in the face. He was held in jail for more than 13 hours and charged with “failure to disperse.”
“Faulk was doing his job, informing the people,” said Guild President Bernie Lunzer. “There is simply no justification for his arrest and mistreatment.”
The Post-Dispatch also condemned the “inappropriate and highly disturbing” arrest and demanded that the city drop the charges.
Faulk was covering protests triggered by a judge’s acquittal of a white police officer who shot and killed a black suspect in 2011.
At least nine other journalists and documentary filmmakers were among hundreds of people arrested and/or roughed up by police in protests in September and October.
Following an outcry over the mass arrests, District Judge Catherine Perry barred officers from declaring protests “unlawful” unless there is an imminent threat of violence. She also issued restrictions on the use of pepper spray and other chemical agents on nonviolent protesters.
In May, the Guild also denounced the assault on Guild member Ben Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian, who was body-slammed by Rep. Greg Gianforte on the eve of Gianforte’s election to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Photo: Michael Faulk is arrested, although his press credentials are clearly visible.