Monday, October 31, 2011

Arrest of Scene Reporter Hits Romenesko, Gawker

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 11:50 AM

The saga of Scene reporter Jonathan Meador's arrest at Occupy Nashville late Friday night and the ensuing trumped-up charges of public intoxication by the Tennessee Highway Patrol is getting traction in the national media, with stories on Romenesko and Gawker.

Of course, the story is all the more damning for Gov. Haslam and the THP due to the growing video evidence, including Meador's original video, posted here on Saturday, and other videos that have been turning up. That includes the one above, shot by Vanderbilt law student and former Scene reporter John Spragens, acting on the scene as a legal observer for the National Lawyers Guild. It features the cuffed Meador being taken on the bus as onlookers scold patrolmen for arresting a member of the press.

Here's an excerpt from the Gawker story:

This YouTube—which quickly becomes audio-only — captures the odd arrest of Jonathan Meador, a Nashville Scene reporter who was covering the October 28 police crackdown on the Occupy Nashville protest when Tennessee Highway Patrol officers arrested him and and charged him with public intoxication and criminal trespass. The officers discuss charging Meador with resisting arrest — even though he doesn't sound like he was resisting arrest.

He also doesn't sound publicly intoxicated. At no time during the recording do the officers suggest that Meador is drunk. Maybe it's because he wasn't? "He was not drinking, and he did not appear to be drunk," a man described as a "media relations consultant, journalist, and former Republican spokesman" told the Tennessean newspaper. Chris Ferrell, the publisher of the company that owns the Scene, says the cops never administered a Breathalyzer test or a blood test to prove that Meador was intoxicated. Meador says he had one drink with dinner, but unless he had a full tankard of Diet Vodka he did not get drunk. So where did that public intox charge come from, then?

More video, after the jump ...

As the above video begins (at the 1:01 point), Meador can be seen in a red hat, taking video with his Flip camera and talking on the phone.

As the above video begins (at the 1:38 point), Meador has been cuffed and is being taken away by officers. Resisting arrest, huh?

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