Among the 400 or so people arrested by Oakland Police on Saturday during the Occupy protest were six reporters — Vivian Ho of the Chronicle, Kristin Hanes of KGO Radio, John C. Osborn of East Bay Express, Yael Chanoff of the Bay Guardian, Gavin Aronsen of Mother Jones and freelancer Susie Cagle (a previous arrestee).
Aronsen, in his first hand account, points out that the arrests of reporters were a direct violation of the Oakland Police Department’s own media relations policy that states “media shall never be targeted for dispersal or enforcement action because of their status.”
- As soon as it became clear that I would be kettled with the protesters, I displayed my press credentials to a line of officers and asked where to stand to avoid arrest. In past protests, the technique always proved successful. But this time, no officer said a word. One pointed back in the direction of the protesters, refusing to let me leave. Another issued a notice that everyone in the area was under arrest.
- I wound up in a back corner of the space between the YMCA and a neighboring building, where I met Vivian Ho of the San Francisco Chronicle and Kristin Hanes of KGO Radio. After it became clear that we would probably have to wait for hours there as police arrested hundreds of people packed tightly in front of us, we maneuvered our way to the front of the kettle to display our press credentials once more.
- When Hanes displayed hers, an officer shook his head. “That’s not an Oakland pass,” he told her. “You’re getting arrested.” (She had a press pass issued by San Francisco, but not Oakland, police.) Another officer rejected my credentials, and I began interviewing soon-to-be-arrested protesters standing nearby. About five minutes later, an officer grabbed my arm and zip-tied me. Around the same time, Ho — who did have official OPD credentials — was also apprehended.