NewsGuild Condemns Arrest of Reporter Michael Faulk

Sept. 21, 2017 – The NewsGuild-CWA condemns the arrest of Michael Faulk, a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who was covering protests in the city at the time of his arrest.

Faulk was caught in a “kettle,” a controversial police technique used to corral groups of protesters, the Post-Dispatch reported on Tuesday. Faulk and others were repeatedly told to move back, but there was nowhere to go.

“We are closed in on all four sides, now,” Faulk wrote on his Twitter feed. “I have no idea where people are supposed to go.”

Faulk’s press credentials were clearly visible at the time of his arrest.

At the time of his arrest, Faulk’s press credentials were clearly visible, a photo posted by the paper shows.

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 arrested, held in jail for more than 13 hours, and charged with “failure to disperse,” according to Joseph E. Martineau, an attorney for the newspaper.

“The NewsGuild denounces the arrest of Guild member Michael Faulk and demands that any pending charges against him be dismissed,” said President Bernie Lunzer.

“Faulk was doing his job, informing the people. There is simply no justification for his arrest and mistreatment,” Lunzer said.

“There has been a noticeable uptick in assaults and arrests of reporters in recent months,” he added. “This is a dangerous trend that impedes journalists’ right to report and the people’s right to know.

The Post-Dispatch also condemned the “inappropriate and highly disturbing” arrest and demanded that the city drop charges against Faulk.

The protests he was covering were triggered by the acquittal of a white police officer who shot and killed a black suspect in 2011. Judge Timothy Wilson ruled on Sept. 15 that Jason Stockley was not guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith.