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SPJ Complains of Occupy Arrests

The Society of Professional Journalists has asked New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and city officials in other states to drop charges against journalists arrested while covering the "Occupy" protests.

"We know that as protests escalate it may be difficult for police to distinguish bystanders from participants, but it is clear now that many journalists have been erroneously arrested without cause," said SPJ president John Ensslin in a statement. "These errors must be rectified immediately."

Citing AP reports, SPJ said that journalists were arrested or at least detained in Chapel Hill, N.C.; Nashville, Milwaukee, and Richmond, Va., as well as New York, all who had "simply and clearly" only been doing their jobs, said SPJ, which said in those incidents the reporters were wearing badges or explained to police they were covering the story.

Ensslin blogged about the arrests Tuesday in addressing what he said had been a flurry of "unwarranted arrests of journalists at street protests or crime scenes."