What I have experienced in St. Paul demonstrates the desire and ability of the police to suppress, intimidate, and ultimately control the news.
We have footage of Fox News being allowed to embed themselves with the riot police lines. The police had formed a bubble of protection and allowed them to travel with them. Fox News also arrived at the I-Witness Video house about the same time that the riot police had, giving the impression that Fox had been given insider tips.
Independent journalists were arrested throughout the week and detained much longer than mainstream journalists. While I was being detained this week at the Ramsey County Jail, I was interrogated by an investigative police officer who suggested that my productions encourage rioting. I was being held at their jail on probable cause rioting charges, and eventually released due to pressure. She suggested that the way I film situations distorts the truth, and that the way I present it incites rioting.
I said that the police in St. Paul do not understand Freedom of the Press and that they wouldn’t get away with what they’ve done. The investigative officer replied that they were just enforcing the law.
They are holding all of the detained independent journalists’ equipment until after the convention, inhibiting our ability to report on the events at the convention. This, along with the raids and the scare tactics, spying and rushing upon us in the streets to search our baggage (which happened to me today), etc., is a serious impediment to everything we are doing.