WASHINGTON: An Indian-origin journalist with a CBS, a major US television network, was heckled by Donald Trump’s supporters and arrested by police during a protest at the Republican presidential frontrunner’s campaign rally here, media reports said.
CBS News reporter Sopan Deb was detained by police while covering the protest that broke out last night following the cancellation of Trump’s rally in Chicago. Deb was covering the clash between protesters and the Republican front-runner’s supporters when he was detained, the news organisation said.
“Deb was filming video of a man whose face was bloody and laying on the ground near police at the time of his arrest,” according to a ‘CBS This Morning’ report.
Deb alleged that he was thrown to the ground and handcuffed without notice or warning, the CBS news reported. Illinois State Police charged Deb with resisting arrest though the network reported that neither his video, nor that of a nearby film crew, showed any sign of resistance.
“I have never seen anything like what I am witnessing in my life,” Deb tweeted after the incident. Deb, who has been covering Trump’s campaign ever since he announced his presidential run last June, said “A Trump supporter just asked me at Reno event if I was taking pictures for ISIS. When I looked shocked, he said, ‘yeah, I am talking to you’.”
The president of CBS News is standing by one of the network’s journalists who was arrested outside a Donald Trump rally that was canceled amid violence between Trump supporters and protesters.
David Rhodes tweeted that journalist Sopan Deb, who was covering the rally at the University of Illinois’ Chicago campus on Friday, was handcuffed and charged with resisting arrest. “On tape you see he did not resist, identified himself as working press,” Rhodes said in his tweet.
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to questions. Trump cancelled his campaign rally here citing security concerns after hundreds of people gathered at the arena to protest against his ‘politics of hatred’ and scuffled with his supporters in the largest-ever demonstration against the Republican presidential front-runner.
Of late journalists have been at receiving end at the Trump campaign. Foreign journalists have been made totally out of bound while the domestic media are put inside an enclosure at all his rallies and are not allowed to move out of that.
In the last few weeks, several journalists have been scuffled by security agents and Trump’s supporters. The developments forced the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) to issue a rare statement.
“Broadly speaking, the WHCA unequivocally condemns any act of violence or intimidation against any journalist covering the 2016 campaign, whether perpetrated by a candidate’s supporters, staff or security officers. We expect that all contenders for the nation’s highest office agree that this would be unacceptable,” WHCA president Carol Lee said in a statement early this week.
“We have been increasingly concerned with some of the rhetoric aimed at reporters covering the presidential race and urge all candidates seeking the White House to conduct their campaigns in a manner that respects the robust back-and-forth between politicians and the press that is critical to a thriving democracy,” said Lee, White House correspondent of The Wall Street Journal.