Conservative Pundit, Lee Stranahan, Arrested, Yet Still Clueless
July, 18 2016 (Fault Lines) — When Lee Stranahan went to Baton Rouge looking for material to finish his latest project, the staunch supporter of cops and open opponent of the Black Lives Matter movement got a reality check instead.
Arrested with a bunch of protesters for allegedly blocking a roadway that the police had already blocked-off he found himself in jail with many of the very people he had promised to “vet and expose”.
I did nothing to break the law. I was not obstructing traffic because with the road closed and police blocking the lane, there was no traffic. At no point did I hear the police give any order for me or anyone else to stay back. I was given no warning whatsoever; I was simply approached and forced to stop recording.
Being grabbed off the street, tossed in a wagon and being locked up can be a very disorienting experience. The fact is: it was an arrest designed to get people with cameras out of a conflict zone where they could potentially record some damning evidence and to his credit Stranahan, did figure that much out:
it seems to me that reporters were very clearly targeted. I believe that officials in Baton Rouge would simply like this whole thing to go away and naïvely thought that stopping the messenger would help.
But the naiveté in this case is clearly his. Despite his claim of being a journalist, he doesn’t want to blame the cops for anything that is happening. Many pro-cop true believers suffer from similar delusions.
Every single person in the police department that I dealt with personally during my arrest and detainment was courteous and professional. Part of this may have been due to my attitude; I simply went along with the process. One reason I have this attitude is that I’m aware that the police are simply doing their jobs. The problems I experienced come from a higher level– the politicians who set policy.
Let’s be clear. Arresting reporters is not the job of police officers. Reporters get arrested by cops to keep them from reporting about bad and unlawful things that cops do. This “policy” is set by cops with the full cooperation of the courts who have never ruled that members of the press have any particular constitutional guarantee of access to any scene. There are very few ramifications for a cop who arrests a reporter. The local tax victims might take a hit, but not the cop.
There is policy set by government agencies that involves spying on journalists who report on world affairs, terrorism or, government agencies. However, at a protest on the streets of an American city, it’s the cops who arbitrarily decide whether or not to suppress or arrest reporters.
Arrests of members of the press are on the rise, especially in areas where heavy protesting is going on. This should concern everyone, especially when those arrests result in prosecutions that are clearly meant as retaliation.
It’s true that sometimes the press can get out of hand, like the ones who recently ransacked the apartment of the San Bernardino shooters in an appalling scene, potentially compromising an investigation and generally giving the press a bad name. But these are the type of reporters who cover protests from a safe distance and don’t represent the profession generally.
Stranahan was bailed out of jail by the National Lawyers Guild, a group he admits to having vilified for defending people he finds repugnant. He now has this to say:
Do I wish there was a conservative, pro-liberty legal group out there that I could’ve called? You’re darn right I do, but there was no such group involved in what was going on in Baton Rouge.
(or anywhere really.)
And also this:
[I]n this case, thank God for the National Lawyers Guild.
If the police want to create their own chilling effect on the first amendment and freedom of the press it might just be that more conservative members of the media might find themselves squatting and coughing right before they don their orange jumpsuits.
Hopefully, unlike Lee Stranahan, they’ll realize it’s cops, not politicians, behind the plot.