Daily Caller reporters Shelby Talcott and Jorge Ventura were arrested in Louisville Wednesday night as part of a mass detention, and have since been in jail for 12 hours despite the police being informed numerous times that they are members of the media.
Talcott and Ventura were first arrested when police surrounded a large group and made everyone lie on the ground. The pair was put in zip-tie cuffs shortly after 11 PM and taken into custody with the rest of the group. (RELATED: Louisville Police Declare Unlawful Assembly, Multiple Fires Set)
We are all on the ground right now and police are taking people and putting them in zip tie cuffs pic.twitter.com/eIJJF1t1Ub
— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) September 24, 2020
Daily Caller Editor-In-Chief Geoffrey Ingersoll notified the Louisville Metro Police Department around 11:30 PM that Talcott and Ventura were operating as members of the press, who are exempt from curfew.
Talcott and Ventura were also prevented from speaking with Neil Patel, an attorney and the founder of Daily Caller. No explanation was given as to why.
The Louisville Department of Corrections told Ingersoll that Talcott and Ventura will be processed and face charges just like everyone else in the group. They will each face 2 misdemeanor charges due to their alleged failure to go to a press “observation area” before the arrests began. It’s unclear if the observation area was announced, where that area was, or if Talcott and Ventura were ever told to go there.
“The Louisville police arrested two of our employees Wednesday night,” Daily Caller founder Neil Patel said in a statement. “We have informed the police that these are reporters who were peacefully doing their job, but they are still refusing to release them.”
Thread on our reporters who were arrested in Louisville last night ????
The Louisville police arrested two of our employees Wednesday night. We have informed the police that these are reporters who were peacefully doing their job, but they are still refusing to release them.
— Neil Patel (@NeilPatelTDC) September 24, 2020
“They will not even let us speak with them. Given the fact that our reporters have been repeatedly harassed, punched and even shot at during past protests, we fear for their safety in lockup with people who may want to do them harm,” Patel continued. “No other news outlet has been on the ground at more protests and riots and none have done a more balanced job of telling the public what is happening.”
“We appreciate the difficult situation that officers are in trying to balance their own safety while allowing protestors to exercise their first amendment rights,” he added. “Unlike other outlets, we have interviewed police about this and told their side of the story. But this is not China. Those reporters flat out have a constitutionally protected role to play on our streets.”
“The Louisville Police Department is going to find out all about this in the form of a lawsuit unless things start changing fast,” Patel said.