“I witnessed pepper spray, blunt force, and threats with firearms all used by police and National Guard. As such, it was important to make a record for both the news and the history books.”
This video was filmed beginning at 10:08 p.m. on May 2, 2015 in Baltimore by News2share credentialed reporters Ford Fischer and Trey Yingst. Here is Fischer ‘s statement on the the incident.
The video basically speaks for itself. As noted in the video, I was staying entirely out of the way of police and protesters, and attempting to make an objective record without getting in the way. It is the duty of a journalist to not interfere with a story, but do one’s best job to record it. I have done that this week in Baltimore, but Saturday I was interrupted. During the video leading to the detainment. I witnessed pepper spray, blunt force, and threats with firearms all used by police and National Guard. As such, it was important to make a record for both the news and the history books. In the same way that filming those events was important, letting the media and the people see what happened to a membered of the credentialed media is important, and that’s why I released this video.
Ford Fischer is an adviser for the Solutions Institute, an advising consulting firm for activists. Below is a statement from the founder of SI, Dan Johnson, originally published on their website and sent to MintPress.
BALTIMORE, MD – SI Adviser and News2Share journalist Ford Fischer was detained by the Baltimore Police Department for attempting to film an arrest after the 10PM curfew. Though as credentialed media he was not subject to the curfew, when he attempted to do his job and film an arrest, he was detained, thrown to the ground, and handcuffed. As you can see in the video below, one Baltimore police officer noticed he was credentialed media and is heard saying “I don’t care.”
Baltimore police [detained] arrested a credential journalist Saturday night after he insisted on running with them as they chased a man for throwing bottles at them.
Obviously, Ford Fischer of News2Share was trying to record something they didn’t want recorded.
The [detention] arrest took place after 10 p.m. when police were trying to clear the streets for the city-wide curfew. Baltimore police announced they would not be arresting “credentialed” journalists. And according to Fischer, this was determined by company-issued credentials as opposed to credentials issued by the police department as some departments do.
Fischer, who is based in Washington D.C., said his credentials are recognized in the White House. News2Share is a company he co-founded that provides news footage for news companies throughout the world. His full name is Andrew Bradford Fischer, but he goes by Ford.
The video begins by cops ordering protesters away, pepper spraying them, even though they were not threatening the cops in any way. Then an armored car pulls up filled with National Guardsmen and cops on the street start yelling “blue shirt,” indicating that a man who had been throwing bottles at them was down the street wearing a blue shirt.So the cops and Fischer begin running, following the armored car, coming to a stop more than four blocks away.
Once the cops caught up to the man, several Guardsmen spill out of the armored car dressed in military fatigues, spotting Ford with his camera, so naturally, they had to do their thing.
“Back up! Back up!” they began ordering, accusing him of “interfering.”
One of them demands to see his credentials and he shows them. Meanwhile, two Baltimore cops were sneaking up behind him.
“He’s credentialed media ….,” one of the Guardsman tells the cops behind him.
“I don’t care,” responds the cop as he grabs him from behind.
“It was very sudden,” Ford said, “But basically he grabbed my camera arm and pulled it behind me as he pushed my back down to put my face onto the pavement.”
Initially, police were going to charge him with violating the curfew, but they realized that would not stick considering they made credentialed journalists exempt, so they charged him with disorderly conduct, which is the usual catch-all charge they use when no laws were actually broken.
Most credentialed journalists allowed themselves to be penned like cattle for their “safety.”
Though the police let him go later that evening, Ford has been cited with disorderly conduct and ordered to pay a $500 fine or go to trial.
Tell Baltimore this is unacceptable. Tweet this story to @MayorSRB, @CBSBaltimore @BaltimoreSun, and @FOXBaltimore. Journalism is not a detainable offense.