Two students and Kernel photo adviser arrested at RNC

Police use pepper spray to break up a group of protesters during a rally at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., on Monday, Sept. 1. Kentucky Kernel photographer Ed Matthews, left with camera, who attended the convention to document the event on his own account, was later arrested on charges of felony riot according to the Ramsey County Adult Detention Center. Rourke, who took the above photograph, was also arrested. By Matt Rourke | AP Photo

By Ali Cicerchi and Jill Laster

Two UK students and the photo adviser for the Kentucky Kernel were arrested at the Republican National Convention Monday afternoon in St. Paul, Minn., on charges of felony rioting. They were photographing the protesting of the convention.

Photographers Ed Matthews and Britney McIntosh and adviser Jim Winn were three of 286 people arrested as convention protests escalated into riots Monday.

All three were arrested are being detained at the Ramsey County Adult Detention Center in St. Paul, until noon, said jail officials.

They will be charged no later than Wednesday, said jail officials. If convicted, Winn, Matthews and McIntosh would receive a minimum sentence of one year in jail and have to pay a minimum fine of $3,000.

Matthews and McIntosh were not covering the event for the Kernel, but were there on their own accounts, said editor in chief Brad Luttrell. The Kernel decided not to cover the Republican National Convention to keep coverage neutral since it had not covered the Democratic National Convention.

“They were still clearly marked as media,” Luttrell said. “They’re two of the most experienced and ethical photographers we have, and I’m certain they were not participating in the protests.”

Photographer Carla Winn, who was with her husband Jim Winn at the convention, said the problems at the Republican National Convention started when a group of protestors broke off from the main group. People started “smarting off to cops,” said Winn, who said she slipped behind a building while her husband got mixed in with protestors.

The police tried to move the protestors back, Carla Winn said, but when they couldn’t, they started spraying people with pepper spray.

Jim Winn and McIntosh obeyed the police order to lie on the ground, Carla Winn said. She didn’t see if Matthews laid on the ground or not.

A friend of the Winns, Jonathan Woods, witnessed the riots as well. Woods, also a photographer, said that the police warned the protestors before using chemical deterrent.

“There was a pretty good volume of tear gas and pepper spray used,” Woods said. “The rubber bullets are what really got people moving.”

Woods said that it was a dynamic situation and the cops had a hard time getting a handle on things.

“We talked about safety before they went,” Luttrell said. “They had emergency phone numbers on their arms.

They had badges that said press. Britney’s asthma medication was taped to her leg. Sometimes things get out of hand, and we discussed all of that before they left.”

Of those arrested Monday, four were journalists accredited with the Republican National Convention, said Tom Walsh, public information officer for the St. Paul Police Department. However, he said, that does not include journalists affiliated with Republication National Convention-accredited groups, including some bloggers and photographers such as Jim Winn, McIntosh and Matthews.

Such a small group of accredited journalists being arrested means police aren’t targeting journalism, but criminal behavior, Walsh said.

“There are literally thousands of journalists here, and they’ve managed to cover their stories (without getting arrested), which would imply there’s nothing going on there,” Walsh said.

Amy Goodman, the host of TV program “Democracy Now!”, was arrested along with two of the program’s producers. Associated Press photographer Matt Rourke was arrested as well. Rourke photographed Matthews being sprayed with pepper spray before both were arrested.

“If journalists are being arrested and the police are not separating them from the rioters, who is going to be there to report on the event itself?” Luttrell said. “Journalists being arrested for doing their job is a form of censorship.”

Although overall security was tight at the convention, Goodman was “thrown in the paddy wagon and her credentials were ripped off,” said Jane Kirtley, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press from 1985 to 1999.

“I think it’s important to acknowledge the police do have a job to do and we don’t condone the destruction of property,” Kirtley said, “but the point is journalists have a job to do and that they should not be impeded from doing that work. Their First Amendment rights should be respected.”

Matthews, McIntosh and Winn could not be reached for comment. They are scheduled to be released Wednesday around noon.

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retired photojournalist says:

As a former photojournalist who has seen my share of police confrontations (no I was never arrested, but close) it has been always my feeling over the years that the CAMERA is what sets the police off more than anything. The fact it records what the police do upsets them in some visceral way that translates sometimes into a “police riot”. The first of these (at political conventions) of course was Chicago 1968. After that, many news photographers took to wearing motorcycle helmets to protect their heads from being affected from Parkinson’s disease years later. It has become a very sad day when gestapo tactics are used against the working press and the public just shrugs its collective shoulders. The same images could be transposed over ones from Nazi Germany in the 1930′s. People were asleep then too. My father was a combat Navy veteran from WWII and always said truth is the best weapon of a democracy. Its too bad the GOP doesn’t see it that way and actually booed the media during Palin’s acceptance speech (ala Goldwater 1964 at the Cow Palace). As my 82 year old mother says almost everyday: “It’s ANOTHER world.”

jimmy says:

because anyone wearing a bandana must be an anarchist? i thought they were gang members? or train robbers?
do anarchists wear a different color? is that the difference? how did they pick the color? did they vote? can they vote? do bandana-wearing anarchists have rights? do non-bandana-wearing anarchists have rights?
do i?
do you?
am i wearing a bandana?
are labrador retrievers anarchists? i mean the ones i see wearing bandanas? should they be pepper sprayed? should i call the cops on that guy i go camping with?
am i asking too many questions?
is anyone laughing? are you wearing a bandana?

ChuckM says:

Ricky, the whole idea of a war without an identifiable enemy is to create a war without an end. This benefits the military-industrial complex. Last year the U.S. sold over half the total weapons sales to the rest of the world, Russia is a distant second (see http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2008_01-02/stohl ) . The U.S. military budget is nearly 585 billion dollars and the entire world spends 1200 billion dollars on military expenditures. The U.S. military budget is greater than the next 17 biggest spending countries combines, including Russia and China. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures ) There are those who are making a lot of money and have a strong interest in seeing war without end.
Sorry for adding the links but I hate it when people comment without doing any research or having any sources for their statements other than pulling them out of their butt. A little research and thinking rather than blind acceptance of statements would go a long way towards getting at the truth of an issue.

Ricky Kendall says:

Can someone please tell me who will be raising the white flag in this “War on Terror?” The whole idea of a war without a named enemy is ludicrous. We should be rendering our efforts in Afghanistan. You know, the war we’re losing right now. We should be fighting those who were truly responsiblefor 9/11 and they should be named. This war was born of greed and the desire for oil and nothing else. If anyone out there can prove this wrong, go for it. If it isn’t obvious to you, you must be living on another planet.

Infernal Crusader says:

Ever watched a good horror movie? If you thought it’s just scary entertainment but you’d be dead wrong. They full of metaphores, symbolism and political statements. Just look at these cops, look at any cops. They are zombies. Yes, nothing but zombies. They live by hunting people. They are not in control, they are under control. It doesn’t matter whether they are NICE, whether they breed, a cop is a cop, is a zombie. There’s nothing that can stop a cop or soldier for that matter. No amount of talking or discussing would ever get them off you. The only way is too wound them fatally but they wear vests. So the only way is cutting their heads of or shooting them in the heads. Just like freaking zombies. Isn’t it amazing?

The master minds are of course no others than politicans. The true vampires. They live by stealing your blood but blood is an outdated currency, so they prefer money. It’s still your blood, sweat and tears earning the money though. The public, that is you, are nothing but sheep. A sheep will never go against its master or the herd. If at all, it gets a bit loud and noisy.

Bones says:

OK, Tim, you’ve gotten so off topic that your comments barely merit a response.

I will say that you don’t know me or what I do. I have seen the video of Amy Goodman being arrested but my earlier comments were completely unrelated to that. I was talking about Matt Rourke’s photo above. I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t take those comments and apply them to a completely separate incident.

I’ve also seen riot police up close, most recently at the DNC last week in Denver, while no one was arrested at the protests I was covering, I never felt like I would’ve been targeted had the police taken action, because I looked nothing like those participating in the protests.

Tim says:

Bones, you should watch the video of Amy Goodman being arrested. She was dressed all nice, no bandanna, and a very large press pass, and in fact, she was walking AWAY when the pig grabbed her and decided to arrest her. No “crowd of anarchists” or anything else like that.

Pigs are pigs, and all the sympathy in the world for “the poor, hard-working police just trying to do their job” won’t change that. Nobody forced them into this line of employment, and their job SHOULD BE to protect the right of citizens to protest LOUDLY, and the right of journalists to cover such protests without being abused, however tough and out-of-hand things get.

If you have never seen a police riot up close, you have no idea what you are talking about. Look for videos of police undercover agents provocateurs in Canada last year at the protests over NAFTA and the WTO. The police set up these situations and then bang on people with impunity. It’s a travesty, and it’s the way the power elites have been keeping regular people under their thumbs for thousands of years. Freedom won’t come until we find a way to put a stop to it. Find a copy of Universal Soldier by Buffy Saint-Marie and listen up. Pigs are pigs!

Bones says:

Barbara… I’m not sure how wearing a ball cap backwards distinguishes someone as being a working journalist. Besides, I wasn’t talking about the ball cap. I was talking about the scarf he’s wearing around his neck, which I imagine was at one point over his face, likely in an attempt to repel the effect of pepper spray. Look close, you can see it.

Barbara Godby says:

Ahem. Hey Bones … don’t look now but that kid in the photo is wearing a ball cap backwards. See the strap with the hair showing through? Don’t photographers do that when they shoot because the brim would get in the way?

Tyler says:

“That is a clamp down on freedom of the press from the same groups making that claim against the police.”

Moot argument, as very few people identify as the “group” engaging in active rioting.

My problem with all this is that they are indeed holding charges over the head of everyone they’ve been detaining, which is absolutely ridiculous. There’s reports, even, of home raids for “conspiracy to commit riot”, which is about as weak a charge as you can get, as the burden of evidence is very very low for that sort of charge; having just about about any connection with any unwanted protest can be blanketed under that charge.

James says:

I guess I have a question to pose to the group. According to mainstream press reports up here, they have never witnessed the mass of “journalists” that they have at this convention. One reporter said he witnessed at least 100 people at a protest carrying cameras and recording equipment and claiming to be press — with and without credentials. The videos also show that many of these “journalists” (I put in quotations because as an award-winning print journalist, I have a difficult time considering any blogger with a camera to be a professional journalist) are screaming at the police to let people go, stop their arrests, etc.

In the chaos of a riot (small and large), how are police to distinguish who are and aren’t journalist (sans credentials aside)? Even with credentials, when journalists start interfering with the police’s duties (like Amy Goodman), are they not discarding their role as independent, objective observers and now becoming common citizens, exposing themselves to the same actions that the police would commit against other citizens? This would not be a clamp down on free speech rights then.

From what I have witnessed (although I do believe Matt Rourke in his recount on MinnPost.com) the police up here have been amazingly restrained in their arrests. Despite the near riots of Tuesday, there were only 10 arrests for the whole day, and none at the most chaotic event during the evening. The rioters and provocateurs have also targeted the mainstream media in their assaults, slashing tires of press vehicles, spraying paint on camera lenses, and trying to block cameramen from recording their actions. That is a clamp down on freedom of the press from the same groups making that claim against the police.

Bones says:

Don’t get me wrong, those journalist shouldn’t have been arrested, but take another look at the shooter in Rourke’s photograph. Call me crazy, but if you show up at a riot wearing a bandanna on your face and dressed like all the “anarchists” in the crowd, you shouldn’t be surprised when the cops go to arrest everyone who looks like an anarchist and you get arrested, too.

Seriously, Ed Matthews looks like all the other rioters. The only difference is that he’s holding a camera. If you’re trying to be professional and cover an event as a professional, you should look professional. Police are less inclined to arrest someone with khakis and a button-down collared shirt among a crowd of people in jeans a t-shirts.

Cory says:

Jeremy’s response is the perfect republican response. I’m not so sure that he missed the point as much as he avoided it. The Republican party seems to have tried to strip intellect from any argument and replace it with emotive buzzwords like 9/11 and Iraq. People contend that Obama suffers in debates but recently I watched one in where McCain’s responses were so devoid of opinion or intellect that even my republican friends in the room were laughing.

But as for this….some people were out throwing molotav cocktails and the like…but if the cops haven’t the ability to distinguish between persons carrying cameras and persons carrying weapons…perhaps they don’t need to be in a position of authority in the first place..

Barbara Godby says:

The demonstration was against the “War on the Poor”, you idiot. Are you saying we’re winning that one and bringing our soldiers home? How quaint.

It would be nice if McCain would send his staff down there and tell the brownshirts in St. Paul that journalists are off limits (and yes, it looks like they were targeted).

If its true about the AP guy, there is a lesson in that, too. They probably rained hell on St Paul and got some judge out of bed at 1am, and they get their guy out. Take note.

James C. says:

I’m with Bill in that Jeremy has obviously missed the point. His winning the war statement is curious also- we’ve been “winning” since day one but the funny thing is we just can’t seem to wrap it up. I do not know Jeremy or how old he is but I will wager we will have troops in Iraq for the REST of his life.
Now the liberalism comment he closes with (a cute little catch phrase fashioned by a right wing radio host named MIchael Savage who also gave us Islamo-facism) basically shows us exactly where he (jeremy) stands- In case you couldn’t tell from earlier in his post. Basically put- if one does not see the world exactly as he then said person has a mental defect of some sort. Boy, is that intelligent. Whats next, “your momma” jokes/insults?
But enough on him and his views. However narrow they may be he IS entitled to them.
I suspect Ed and company will be released and cleared of all accusations. (At least I hope it works out like that) The cops or city or whoever will issue some kind of half-assed apology and life will go on.
In an age where REAL journalism is in decline it is refreshing to see individuals go after a story and try to shed light on what is happening beyond the latest Paris Hilton crap or whatever the flavor of the day is. Important stories are often overlooked for something that may sell more rags.
The real threat here was to the rights of the press and therefore to ALL of our citizens. The Constitution has been abused and misused the last 7 years in such ways that it is amazing that it survives.
If we the public stand idly by I dare say the abuse will continue. Should the Constitution go up in flames then maybe we never deserved such grand ideals as put forth in that document after all.

Noah says:

Jeremy,anyone who believes that spraying a can of mace at innocent people and journalists is the right thing to do seriously needs to go back to kindergarten. Isn’t that when they teach kids that it’s NOT okay to injure their neighbors? Oh wait, no. That’s just when right-wing extremists tell their 4-year-olds to beat up everyone they can because, hey. That kid with black hair? He might be a “terrorizor.”

Bill Sudkamp says:

Oh jeremy. You missed the point. The anarchists are bad… they show up to cause trouble. The cops are supposed to be good and protect the public. When the two meet, thats called news. The press is there to report it to people like you and me, and they get arrested! For taking pictures! Only a fascist moron would think the cops had any business doing that. (You don’t, do you?).

Bill Sudkamp says:

Is it just me, or does it look like the cop is spraying over the protesters (who appear to have their arms linked, backs to the cops) so he can hit the guy exerciing his first amendment rights? is this a great country or what?

Jeremy says:

leave it to some Libs to cause a riot over a war we are winning and starting to bring troops home from.

Liberalism truly is a mental disorder.

Teresa says:

Leave it to the Republicians

John P. says:

Soooooo. According to the AP the (47-yr old) guy who took the photo of the UK student getting sprayed was released that same night, while the (20-something) guy taking pictures five feet away faces a year in the can? Sounds like money talking!