Last night was a reminder that reporters can be arrested for simply doing their job. And this is just one of the many obstacles for journalists covering a Trump event.
Sopan Deb, a CBS reporter covering Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, was arrested Friday in Chicago while covering the canceled Trump rally. Deb was reporting on the protests for CBS and interviewing Trump supporters and protesters when he was detained by police without warning. Illinois State Police said that Deb was detained for resisting arrest, but CBS released footage from Deb which contradicts the police report.
In the video Deb is filming an allegedly bloodied person being arrested outside of the rally, when without warning he is thrown to the ground and cuffed by police. In the video he identifies himself as a member of the press while being arrested.
Deb, who is of Indian descent and has been covering the campaign since this summer, says he has been the subject of insults by people affiliated with the brash Republican front runner. In January, Deb tweeted about people telling him to go back to Iraq, and asking if he worked for ISIS:
The CBS reporter of Indian descent detained today wrote in January how he's been racially insulted at Trump rallies: pic.twitter.com/EYA8Wa9Nhm
— Niraj Warikoo (@nwarikoo) March 12, 2016
In the last few months journalists covering Trump have been subjected to insults, physical harm and restrictions on their freedoms as the rallies for the candidate have grown increasingly hostile. One reporter is even bringing charges against Trump’s campaign manager for assault.
The Huffington Post reports that reporters have faced increasing difficulties covering Trump’s often raucous events, given the campaign’s severe restrictions on their movements. Organizers have at times forced journalists to remain in a “press pen” at events where they face hostility directed at them from the candidate and some supporters.
We have reached out to CBS for a statement, and a spokesperson responded via email:
Report and video of CBS News reporter Sopan Deb being arrested while covering Chicago protests last night. Deb was thrown to the ground by law enforcement without warning and arrested. On the tape, he identifies himself as a credentialed member of the media.
It has gotten to the point where Trump’s rivals are saying the candidate shares blame for these incidents. Trump instead blamed what happened last night in Chicago on protesters and used coded language when describing them:
The organized group of people, many of them thugs, who shut down our First Amendment rights in Chicago, have totally energized America!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2016
It’s as if for journalists, especially journalists of color, being assigned to cover a Trump event has become an exercise in survival.