By Hilde Kate Lysiak
The OSN was working on a story in Patagonia, Arizona when a law enforcement officer threatened the reporter with arrest unless she stopped reporting the news.
The OSN was biking down Roadrunner Lane investigating the tip at about 1:30 pm on February 18th when the reporter was stopped by Patagonia Marshal Joseph Patterson and asked for identification.
The Orange Street News identified herself as a member of the media, including name and phone number.
“I don’t want to hear about any of that freedom of the press stuff,” said Patterson.
The Marshal continued “I’m going to have you arrested and thrown in juvey. “
The Marshal didn’t have his lights on and passed several people who were on the streets without stopping them or questioning them.
“I can have you arrested, do you understand?” the Marshal answered.
Asked what he could arrested for, the officer first said it was for “disobeying his command,” then said it was for riding on the wrong side of the road. Finally, the officer said a Mountain Lion was spotted in the area despite their being other people in the area who were not kicked off the road.
“I’m worried about your safety, the area you were in we were dealing with a mountain lion,” said Patterson.”
“I gave you a lawful order and if you disobey a law enforcement officer….Lying to me and saying you were going to your friends house wasn’t acceptable.”
“If you paste my face on the internet it’s against the law so I’m not giving you permission to use my picture or my face on the internet, do you understand all that?”
The OSN answered, “I understand all that.”
The court says the First Amendment gives citizens the right to record police officers in public while they are performing their duties. But that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to record if you’re doing so secretly interfering with the officer, or otherwise breaking the law.
The Officer told the reporter he was calling her parents.
“You aren’t an adult so don’t act like,” Marshal Patterson said before driving off.