The St. Louis chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has released a statement condemning the arrest of a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter downtown Sunday night.
Reporter Mike Faulk was one of 123 people who were arrested on Sunday night downtown. A vast majority of those people were charged with "failure to disperse" after vandals smashed the windows of a handful of businesses, and broke some concrete planters.
Faulk says he was trapped by police lines before his arrest, and that multiple officers pinned him to the ground and pushed his head into the pavement before squirting pepper spray in his face. He was held at the jail for more than 12 hours before being released on a $50 bond.
Just to reiterate so it's clear: I was not only arrested, I was assaulted. #STLVerdict— Mike Faulk (@Mike_Faulk) September 20, 2017
Here's the entire statement from the Society of Professional Journalists:
"Journalism is the only profession protected by name in the Constitution. The First Amendment is not a whimsical academic concept to be dismissed when it becomes inconvenient - or embarrassing to the police. The chilling effect of assaulting, arresting, jailing and charging a journalist in the course of his duties cannot be understated.
Journalists in high-incident situations are already placing themselves in harm’s way to perform the public service of informing the community. They are on the ground surrounded by some who may be hostile toward them, as we also have seen over the last few days. Since his release, Faulk reportedly has been harassed and threatened online.
Journalists already have much to fear in this brave new world. They should not have to fear the police as well."