Los Angeles DA Won’t File Charges after Rough Questionable Arrest

By Eric J. Trochez

LOS ANGELES- The Los Angeles DA’s Office has decided, stating “insufficient evidence,” not to file obstruction of justice against news reporter Josie Huang for allegedly interfering with an arrest following the death of two deputies in Compton.

On September 12, around midnight, Josie Huang, a reporter for KPCC radio, was arrested when she found herself in the middle of protestors and deputies. She was tackled by deputies, held down, and arrested for allegedly obstructing justice and interfering with the arrest of protestors.

Huang was held in detention for five hours after being released, but not without a few cuts and bruises as souvenirs to take home. It wasn’t until September 24 that the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department released a statement on her arrest:

“The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department values the media and highly respects the freedom of the press. We are advocates of responsible reporting and strongly believe in transparency. With regard to the obstruction arrest (148pc) of Ms. Josie Huang, it is unfortunate this incident took place during a time in which our focus was on the horrific attempted assassination of two of our deputies. The events during that time were very tense and rapidly evolving.”

The statement continues, and suggests the reporter made a mistake, noting:

“At that same time our personnel were dealing with protesters who were blocking the driveway to the hospital emergency room and chanting for our wounded deputies to die, which could also be heard by their family members….Ms. Huang inserted herself too close to the highly charged situation as an arrest was being made.”

In a synopsis based on police reports, it describes the arrest taking place, Huang’s actions and the deputies’ response.

The synopsis also acknowledges that a deputy heard her identifying herself as a reporter from the KPCC and that she was wearing a lanyard. This lanyard was later noted to have her KPCC work card.

The synopsis acknowledges the events that took place and the mistake of the deputies on their part: “While she was in close proximity to deputies making an arrest, and while deputies had reason to ask her to back up, Ms. Huang was not given the opportunity to comply with their demand.”

The synopsis goes on to cite Penal Code section 148 (g): “The fact that a person takes a photograph or makes an audio or video recording of a public officer or peace officer, while the officer is in a public space or the person taking the photograph or making the recording is in a place he or she has the right to be, does not constitute, in and of itself, a violation…”

The synopsis concludes there is insufficient evidence to prove Huang obstructed justice and interfered with the arrest of a demonstrator on September 12. This was mainly due to footage provided by Huang, as well as others recording that night, contradicting statements made by the LA Sheriff’s Department, believing their deputies did no wrong.

Huang expresses her gratitude on Twitter for all the support she’s been receiving. She expressed her gratitude for the Los Angeles DA’s Office, reaching the right conclusion in relation to her case.

Huang ended her statement with this: “More than ever, I am grateful for the First Amendment, which entitles all Americans – not just journalists – to the rights of free speech and assembly.”

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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