Detained Journalist at UCLA Protest Sparks Outcry

( – Journalist Sean Beckner-Carmitchel was detained by police early on Monday, May 6th while making videos on the UCLA campus. Beckner-Carmitchel was covering the ongoing protests of the Israel-Hamas war on the college campus. Beckner-Carmitchel was wearing his LAPD-issued press pass and repeatedly told officers he was a member of the press. He was secured in zip ties and held for four hours before officers released him, admitting they had made a mistake.

Beckner-Carmitchel was part of a group of 45 people arrested including students, journalists, and legal observers. Beckner was originally stopped by police around 6 A.M. and was warned about “violating curfew.” He later entered a parking lot and began taking video of police detaining a group of around 30 protesters. While filming, he was approached from behind and placed in zip ties. Beckner-Carmitchel said he had no contact with students and was not privy to any plans.

Police took Beckner-Carmitchel to Van Nuys jail where he was fingerprinted. Officers then acknowledged Beckner-Carmitchel was indeed a member of the press and he was released.

Journalist and L.A. Police critic William Gude was also arrested. Gude posed a livestream of the incident on YouTube.

Susan E. Seager, director of the Press Freedom Project at UC Irvine School of Law wrote an email to campus officials explaining that Beckner-Carmitchell’s detention was illegal. She demanded his immediate release. According to Seager, who represents independent journalists in court, Beckner-Carmitchell was within his rights to film police. Seager said Beckner-Carmitchell was not interfering with police while making his video. She continued to say a police search of the journalist’s devices would also be illegal.

Gude’s livestream video captured the arrest of Gina Viola, a former mayoral candidate and progressive activist. Gude posted on X when he was released claiming the journalists and legal observers were “SPECIFICALLY TARGETED” by police for documenting the mass arrest.

Police have made several arrests on the UCLA campus over recent weeks of those protesting the war in Gaza and inciting violence on campus.

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