Nashville police did not care that Matthew Hamill identified himself as a reporter as he was attempting to document the arrest of several Occupy protesters Saturday.
They arrested him anyway, accusing him of obstructing traffic.
But by the time they transported him to the police station, an officer in charge decided he wasn’t worth processing, so they released him without charges.
At that point it didn’t matter. They had fulfilled their goal of preventing him from documenting their actions.
However, he was able to document his own arrest, which you can see in the above video.
According to The Tennessean:
Matthew Hamill, who hosts This Occupied Life on 107.1 WRFN-LPFM, Radio Free Nashville, was videotaping the arrests of four Occupy Nashville protesters who marched down Lower Broadway when a Metro police officer grabbed him from behind.
“I’m with the press, I’m with the press,” Hamill says repeatedly, according to video of the incident posted on YouTube. The gathering crowd chants, “He’s media.”
“I don’t care,” the officer replies at least twice.
Hamill is at least the 36th journalist to be arrested nationwide covering Occupy protests since the movement began in September, including the third in Nashville, according to reporter Josh Stearns, who has been maintaining a list.
The issue has been getting a lot of media attention, including this article from the American Journalism Review where former Miami Police Chief John Timoney was interviewed.
The relationship between journalists and police officers has always been tense, of course. “They’re both aggressive professions, and sometimes they get in one another’s face,” says John Timoney, former police chief in Miami and Philadelphia.