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WV Journalist arrested, charged after asking HHS Secretary Tom Price a question

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posted on May, 10 2017 @ 10:45 AM
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A journalist arrested in a state capitol for following Price and Kellyann down a hallway awhile attempting and persisting to get an answer—to a question. I don't recall hearing of something like this before, and it's quite frightening considering the attempted stifling we have of the first amendment by this administration. I suppose now reporters must sit, or walk, idly by and await to be asked if the have any questions, or to be called on?


As Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price walked through a hallway Tuesday in the West Virginia state capitol, veteran reporter Dan Heyman followed alongside him, holding up his phone to Price while attempting to ask him a question.

“He didn’t say anything,” Heyman said later in a news conference. “So I persisted.”

Then, an officer in the capitol pulled him aside, handcuffed him and arrested him. Heyman was jailed on the charge of willful disruption of state government processes and was released later on $5,000 bail.


Willful disruption of state government processes for doing what journalists do, asking questions, persisting—their jobs—in a government building. These officials work for the people, who are public servants, in public offices, in public places, and journalists are there to help hold them accountable.


Authorities . . . Heyman was “aggressively breaching” the agents to the point where they were “forced to remove him a couple of times from the area,” according to a criminal complaint.

Heyman “was causing a disturbance by yelling questions at Ms. Conway and Secretary Price,” the complaint stated.


This is a crime? Isn't this what journalists frequently do, follow a public official in a government building, asking questions, attempting to get answers? But to be arrested for this?


“From what we can understand, he did nothing out of the ordinary,” Corbeil said in an interview with The Washington Post. “He was doing what any journalist would normally do, calling out a question and trying to get an answer.”


I could *almost* understand if he wasn't wearing press credentials and was briefly questioned, but to also be charged??


Heyman said he was simply fulfilling his role as a journalist and feels that his arrest sets a “terrible example” for members of the press seeking answers to questions.

“This is my job, this is what I’m supposed to do,” Heyman said.


He's correct. A reporter of 30 years who has written for the NYT, NPR, and various other news outlets, he was wearing press credentials

He was wearing a press pass as well as a shirt with a Public News Service logo on the front, and identified himself to police as a reporter, he said.


Scary times, indeed.

Criminal Complaint
edit on 10-5-2017 by Liquesence because: (no reason given)




posted on May, 10 2017 @ 10:49 AM
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a reply to: Liquesence

If what you're saying is true and there is no partisan slant to it, then it is a gross violation of rights and should be investigated.

Politicians are public servants.

They are the hired help.

They are our bitches.



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 10:50 AM
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I think escorting him out of the building would have sufficed if his behavior was becoming more badgering and harassment than simply trying to do his job. But even I feel an arrest was a bit much. The charge will likely be dropped later though.


+2 more 
posted on May, 10 2017 @ 10:57 AM
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From listening to Trumps rhetoric and hearing some of his followers actually say they want the press jailed for printing unflattering stories about him, this doesn't surprise me at all.

I doubt this will be the last time this happens.

Scary times.



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 10:59 AM
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"Heyman was “aggressively breaching” the agents to the point where they were “forced to remove him a couple of times from the area,”, from your OP.

It would be helpful if there is any video of the incident.

If this reporter was trying to physically push himself past security personnel, in order to get his phone in their faces, then I can see a point to why they arrested him. He has a right to ask questions, as a reporter, but there have to be security precautions taken in this day and age, if someone is acting aggressively.

Sort of like you have a right to protest...but not a right to riot.

Any video?
edit on 10-5-2017 by mobiusmale because: typo



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 10:59 AM
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a reply to: DBCowboy

Not sure about partisan slant, but the criminal complaint reads :

Heyman was “aggressively breaching” the agents to the point where they were “forced to remove him a couple of times from the area,” according to a criminal complaint.

Heyman “was causing a disturbance by yelling questions at Ms. Conway and Secretary Price,” the complaint stated.


Document Here.

Would also like to add that the complaint says he was arrested for "causing a disturbance" "before he tried to aggressively breach the security of the Secret Service."

Before he tried. So, did he not even "try" to breach it, it was just they "thought he was going to?"
edit on 10-5-2017 by Liquesence because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:00 AM
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originally posted by: DBCowboy
a reply to: Liquesence

If what you're saying is true and there is no partisan slant to it, then it is a gross violation of rights and should be investigated.

Politicians are public servants.

They are the hired help.

They are our bitches.




I suggest that you get some press credentials and storm into the US Capitol Building during a joint session of Congress and start shouting questions.
Them 'bitches' will have you in cuffs in no time flat.



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:03 AM
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a reply to: mobiusmale

Video would be very helpful. The only video I have found so far is of him being taken to capitol police office, after the incident.


If this reporter was trying to physically push himself past security personnel, in order to get his phone in their faces, then I can see a point to why they arrested him.


Agreed. Then again, what one person considers "aggressive breaching" another might not.

I could understand removal or questions, but arrest?
edit on 10-5-2017 by Liquesence because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:03 AM
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originally posted by: Liquesence
a reply to: DBCowboy

Not sure about partisan slant, but the criminal complaint reads :

Heyman was “aggressively breaching” the agents to the point where they were “forced to remove him a couple of times from the area,” according to a criminal complaint.

Heyman “was causing a disturbance by yelling questions at Ms. Conway and Secretary Price,” the complaint stated.


Document Here.


Does this really warrant an arrest, though?

One can easily make the case that this sets a dangerous precedent regarding government and accountability to the people/press.

Like another poster mentioned - Trump and his cultists have postured (and supported) opening up libel laws and jailing those who print negative stories about the administration so I'm not necessarily surprised.

People wanted this. They voted for it.



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:06 AM
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a reply to: Liquesence

Yea on the surface this is horrible for any party etc.

But then when I read he was forcibly removed couple of times.... This is what needs to be brought to the forefront of the discussion and not hidden down in the story hidden in plain site.



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:06 AM
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a reply to: RomeByFire


Does this really warrant an arrest, though?


In my opinion, no. If is was this much of a disturbance, temporary detention, removal, and questioning. Arrest?


One can easily make the case that this sets a dangerous precedent regarding government and accountability to the people/press.


It absolutely does.



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:09 AM
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You'll note on the charge it is " Willful disruption of Governmental Processes".

That will stick, nolo contendere and let it go.

Buck



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:16 AM
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originally posted by: butcherguy

originally posted by: DBCowboy
a reply to: Liquesence

If what you're saying is true and there is no partisan slant to it, then it is a gross violation of rights and should be investigated.

Politicians are public servants.

They are the hired help.

They are our bitches.




I suggest that you get some press credentials and storm into the US Capitol Building during a joint session of Congress and start shouting questions.
Them 'bitches' will have you in cuffs in no time flat.


I know.

And they won't even make me sammiches either.




posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:16 AM
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a reply to: RomeByFire

Maybe it does. I am not of the opinion this is wrong or right with the limited information. If the norm is to push past security, get forcibly removed, and come back and do it again then the norm needs to change.



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:18 AM
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a reply to: RomeByFire


Like another poster mentioned - Trump and his cultists have postured (and supported) opening up libel laws and jailing those who print negative stories about the administration so I'm not necessarily surprised."


No, opening up libels laws means that reporters would face consequences for knowingly publishing false stories that are damaging to the individuals that they are about...ie. about Trump, the Administration, or anybody else.

Why should, in your opinion, journalists be exempt from penalties for spreading lies or unsupported innuendo that cause damage to the targets of a false attack?
edit on 10-5-2017 by mobiusmale because: typo



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:26 AM
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a reply to: mobiusmale


that reporters would face consequences for knowingly publishing false stories that are damaging to the individuals that they are about


They do face consequences for knowingly publishing falsehoods. For a public official it's called actual malice (NYT v. Sullivan); for ordinary citizens, it's simple libel.



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:27 AM
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I cannot believe that officials are under any obligation to answer EVERY question that a reporter asks, and to give that answer NOW, at the time of the reporter's choosing.
If that were the case, the management of press conferences would be impossible.
Every time a press secretary says "I will hear this person's question instead of that person", the second person is "prevented from asking a question".
Every time a press secretary says "No more questions, this conference is over for the day", every reporter in the room is being "prevented from asking" any further questions.
So my conclusion is that "Being prevented from asking a question is an infringement of his rights" is an absurd and unworkable premise.
The official DOES have the right to say "No, I'm not answering that right now. Go away."


edit on 10-5-2017 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:29 AM
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What he was doing was stalking. The people running this country need to stay focused on what they are doing, not being pestered by the press while doing their job. I believe in freedom of the press. But there are limitations. Press conferences should be held and people need to understand, these people have essential jobs they have to do. They cannot be disrupting their ability to remember things that are essential to their jobs.

I know that when I was constantly disrupted by the workers and the clients, I could not get the job done efficiently. I owned a business. I was not interested in having my work constantly interrupted. Public relations is important, but there has to be reason-ability figured in to the mix. The Press has no right to be hounding the people while they are involved in their jobs. I, as a taxpayer, want to see our government work efficiently and going in the right direction. I do not like the press and special interest groups deterring them from doing what they have to do. Yes, if there is something wrong, I want that investigated but what this reporter was doing was wrong. He should be put in jail so he learns the proper way to do things.

Try doing something like what he did in the UK, you would be in jail. The same applies to France, not to mention Germany.



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:35 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

You're comparing a question and answer session (press conference), which is regulated by those giving the conference, with a public official/servant in public (a capitol hallway).

No, they do not "have" to answer the questions; yes, they can "say" go away, but they do not have the right to remove someone because that person is annoying to them. Why? Because they are public officials in public.


my conclusion is that "Being prevented from asking a question is an infringement of his rights"


Being prevented from asking a question of a public official in a public place if one is not breaking a law is absolutely an infringement of rights, I would argue. Journalists have the right to ask questions of those officials.



posted on May, 10 2017 @ 11:40 AM
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Forget the politics. Paparazzi have been a problem for many people for a long time. I really can not stand how aggressive they can be and how they can ruin a persons personal life.

Without any video my first impression was simply that, paparazzi tactics to get a sound bite or to get someone angry enough that their reaction to the paparazzi becomes the story.

Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. But the bit about being pushed away and then continuing to be aggressive makes me side with security team.



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