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Robert Dew Settlement Proves Police Still Can’t Wrongfully Arrest Journalists

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Robert Dew Settlement Proves Police Still Can’t Wrongfully Arrest Journalists

robert dew on infowars

In July of 2012, the city of Pittsburgh was forced to settle a federal lawsuit with a journalist who had been wrongfully arrested and detained for over 12 hours while he was covering the Group of 20 protests in Pittsburgh in 2009.

Robert Dew was working as a reporter for Infowars – the conspiracy website owned by Alex Jones – when he was handcuffed while interviewing protestors at the G-20 Summit. Robert was wearing a press pass in clear sight of the police who arrested him. According to Dew’s formal complaint, he was forced to sit outside in the rain wearing only a tee shirt and shorts, never informed of any specific charges against him, and detained overnight.

After his detainment, Dew was eventually charged with failure to disperse and disorderly conduct, but those charges were dropped after Dew sued the City of Pittsburgh and law enforcement officials for false imprisonment. The City of Pittsburgh eventually settled the case with Dew under terms that Dew was not allowed to discuss publicly.

The case clearly reveals that even during 2009 – in the prime of some of the most active Occupy and Anonymous protests across the country – police may have attempted to circumvent the rights of journalists, but the courts continued to uphold the Constitution.

A Police State?

We’ve heard from readers often here at Top Secret Writers that the United States is headed directly for a police state situation. While the mass arrests of Occupy Protesters and the arrest of journalists like Dew might have signaled that police agencies across the country might have been behaving as though the U.S. was a police state, it’s quite clear that the U.S. court system would not condone such a situation.

In his lawsuit, Dew described the situation that he observed at the 2009 G -20 protest as follows:

“Arbitrary arrest of professional journalists who are covering political events and filming police crackdowns and mass arrests of protesters is a hallmark of oppressive and totalitarian regimes the world over, and such arrest of journalists is incompatible and antithetical to a free society with a free and vigilant press, serving to chill both free speech and free press activities.”

The irony of this situation was that, even though the police arrested and detained Mr. Dew in 2009 – leading to a litany of claims by Dew, his lawyers, and of course Alex Jones that the U.S. was in a police state situation, the final court settlement actually proved the opposite, and laid all of Dew’s and Alex Jones’ claims of a U.S. police state to waste.

pittsburgh g20 protest

Robert Dew’s Arrest

Dew’s film crew taking part in the reporting of the 2009 G-20 protests were actually piecing together the parts for a documentary that they intended to title “Police State 4: The Rise of FEMA”. During their recording, the film crew interviewed National Guard Public Affairs Officer Lt. Col. Chris Cleaver before returning to a location closer to the protests, eventually reporting live during the police use of an LRAD sound weapon on the protestors.

Dew reported from the scene live during an Alex Jones broadcast, calling it the “first use of LRAD on US citizens”.

Toward the end of the event, as police were rounding up and arresting protesters, Dew attempted to leave the area, taking the same path that a female reporter had taken through the police lines just moments before. While police had allowed the female journalist through, when Dew attempted to cross the line with his press pass in full sight, he was detained. In one case, a female police officer examined Dew’s press pass which noted that he was being paid to report for, and said, “No, not press, not at all.”

This was when Mr. Dew was forced to sit and wait – and was eventually detained for 12 hours.

Watch the full event unfold here:

What is a Journalist?

The situation with Robert Dew is interesting, because reporters for mainstream news organizations were clearly treated with kid gloves by the police, while alternative news reporters like Dew had their credentials questioned, and even denied – despite the fact that Dew could easily prove he was being paid for reporting on the protest event.

The good news for alternative media and the journalists that work for it is that Robert Dew’s settlement has become evidence for two things. The first is that even though some police organizations in some cities may like to operate as though the U.S. is now a police state, the U.S. courts still will not condone such actions. That’s very good news.

The other fact that it proves is that alternative news journalists need to be treated in the same manner and with the same access and rights as journalists who work for mainstream news organizations. That means that police cannot wrongfully arrest, detain or threaten those journalists when they are in the process of peacefully collecting news to report to their readers and viewers.

This story was even mentioned on the website of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press – further proof that alternative news journalists are very much a part of the journalism community, and need to be treated as such.

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Top Secret Editors

Ryan is the founder of Top Secret Writers. He is an IT analyst, blogger, journalist, and a researcher for the truth behind strange stories.
Lori is TSW's editor. Freelance writer and editor for over 17 years, she loves to read and loves fringe science and conspiracy theory.

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Gabrielle is a journalist who finds strange stories the media misses, and enlightens readers about news they never knew existed.
Sally is TSW’s health/environmental expert. As a blogger/organic gardener, she’s investigates critical environmental issues.
Mark Dorr grew up the son of a treasure hunter. His experiences led to working internationally in some surprising situations!
Mark R. Whittington, from Houston, Texas, frequently writes on space, science, political commentary and political culture.

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