LOS ANGELES – A radio reporter taken into custody while covering a demonstration the night two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies were shot will not be criminally charged, the county's district attorney's office said Thursday.
Josie Huang, a journalist for NPR affiliate KPCC, was slammed to the ground by deputies and accused of interfering with the arrest of a protester outside a hospital Sept. 12.
After she was released from jail, Huang tweeted she was “filming an arrest when suddenly deputies shout ‘back up.’ Within seconds, I was getting shoved around. There was nowhere to back up.”
In cellphone video of the incident, Huang can be heard shouting, “I’m a reporter. ... I’m with KPCC” as she tumbles to the pavement. She said she was wearing a press pass.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Huang, 39, was too close to the deputies during the man’s arrest. But the Los Angeles County's District Attorney's Office said “it does not appear that she was intentionally attempting to interfere with the deputies, but merely trying to record” the incident.
“Ms. Huang was in a public area filming a protest. When asked to back up, she is almost immediately grabbed by deputies and taken to the ground, giving her little if any time to comply,” prosecutors wrote in a memo declining to file criminal charges.
The Sheriff’s Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A letter from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press condemning the arrest and calling for the charges against Huang to be dropped was signed by 64 media organizations, including The Associated Press.