SouthComm Publishing CEO Chris Ferrell sent an letter to Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s (R) office saying he expected a public apology after state troopers arrested a Nashville Scene reporter along with protesters at the “Occupy Nashville” demonstration.
“I learned this morning that one of my reporters at the Nashville Scene was arrested last night while covering the protests at Legislative Plaza despite identifying himself as a reporter,” he wrote.
“I expect the Governor to publicly apologize to him for this violation of his rights and to assure the people of Tennessee that this administration will not interfere with the right to a free press that has been a fundamental right in this country since our founding,” Ferrell continued. “I’m sure you understand that every media outlet in this country will vigorously defend our right to cover government action without fear of arrest or reprisal.”
Jonathan Meador, a reporter for the Nashville Scene, twice told the officer who arrested him on Friday, “I’m a member of the media.” He videotaped his own arrest to back up his claims.
Despite that plea, state troopers charged Meador with public intoxication, although they didn’t administer a Breathalyzer or blood test to him.
Meador was released along with all the other protesters thanks to judicial commissioner Tom Nelson.
With prior reporting by Andrew Jones