Two UK students and a Kernel adviser were released Wednesday after being arrested on felony rioting charges two days earlier at the Republican National Convention.
Kentucky Kernel photographers Ed Matthews and Britney McIntosh and Kernel photo adviser Jim Winn were detained at the Ramsey County Adult Detention Center in St. Paul, Minn. They were not covering the event for the Kernel, but were there on their own accounts, said editor in chief Brad Luttrell.
Matthews, McIntosh and Winn were released without being charged with a crime, however charges are pending further investigation, according to jail officials.
All three were photographing protests of the convention, said Matthews, although they were not on assignment for the Kernel in Minnesota.
As the three took photographs around the hotel where Republican National Convention delegates were staying, riot guards were pushing back the crowd. The guards then began throwing cherry bombs, Matthews said.
Matthews and McIntosh were together and tried to break from the crowd as they took pictures, he said, but it was unsuccessful.
â€œIt was crazy. People were running left and right. Youâ€™d turn around, and thereâ€™d be a line of cops coming from one direction,â€ Matthews said. â€œYouâ€™d turn back around and there would be cops on bikes coming in the other direction.â€
Matthews said during the arrest, police confiscated all of his and McIntoshâ€™s belongings, which they will be able to pick up in Minnesota on Monday. The only thing he had when he was released was his ID card and debit card, which he tucked in his shoe before the protest.
Even though Matthews said his and McIntoshâ€™s arrest was not warranted, he is concerned that they will be charged along with the protestors.
â€œThey definitely donâ€™t have video of me throwing bricks or anything,â€ he said. â€œSo while there is a small fear, Iâ€™m not too worried weâ€™ll be charged.â€
The three photographers will receive treatment no different from that of others arrested because they were documenting the protests, said Tom Walsh, the public information officer for the St. Paul Police Department.
â€œThey were not credentialed journalists,â€ Walsh said. â€œThey were not on an assignment.â€
Despite the trip resulting in the arrest, Matthews said he felt it was part of his job as a journalist.
â€œWe were arrested for doing our jobs as journalists, so I think itâ€™s not all for nothing.â€
If convicted of felony rioting, Winn, Matthews and McIntosh would receive a minimum sentence of one year in jail and have to pay a minimum fine of $3,000.
The St. Paul City Attorneyâ€™s office could not be reached by press time for comment.