Baltimore police arrested a credential journalist Saturday night after he insisted on running with them as they chased a man for throwing bottles at them.
The arrest took place after 10 p.m. when police were trying to clear the streets for the city-wide curfew. Baltimore police announced they would not be arresting “credentialed” journalists. And according to Fischer, this was determined by company-issued credentials as opposed to credentials issued by the police department as some departments do.
Fischer, who is based in Washington D.C., said his credentials are recognized in the White House. News2Share is a company he co-founded that provides news footage for news companies throughout the world. His full name is Andrew Bradford Fischer, but he goes by Ford.
The video begins by cops ordering protesters away, pepper spraying them, even though they were not threatening the cops in any way. Then an armored car pulls up filled with National Guardsmen and cops on the street start yelling “blue shirt,” indicating that a man who had been throwing bottles at them was down the street wearing a blue shirt.
So the cops and Fischer begin running, following the armored car, coming to a stop more than four blocks away.
Once the cops caught up to the man, several Guardsmen spill out of the armored car dressed in military fatigues, spotting Ford with his camera, so naturally, they had to do their thing.
“Back up! Back up!” they began ordering, accusing him of “interfering.”
One of them demands to see his credentials and he shows them. Meanwhile, two Baltimore cops were sneaking up behind him.
“He’s credentialed media ….,” one of the Guardsman tells the cops behind him.
“I don’t care,” responds the cop as he grabs him from behind.
“It was very sudden,” Ford said, “But basically he grabbed my camera arm and pulled it behind me as he pushed my back down to put my face onto the pavement.”
Initially, police were going to charge him with violating the curfew, but they realized that would not stick considering they made credentialed journalists exempt, so they charged him with disorderly conduct, which is the usual catch-all charge they use when no laws were actually broken.
Most credentialed journalists allowed themselves to be penned like cattle for their “safety.”
Ford said they released him within an hour with a citation to appear in court.