Reporter Tackled and Arrested by L.A. Deputies Shares Videos of the Incident

Reporter Josie Huang was tackled by several Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies while covering a protest outside a hospital despite repeatedly identifying herself as press, according to videos she shared on social media.

Huang, a reporter for public radio station KPCC, was arrested outside St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood where protesters had gathered on Sunday night.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said on Twitter that the reporter had interfered with the arrest of a male protester and did not identify herself as press or have proper press credentials.

Thank you https://t.co/5ajOiRV1m6 for what is the clearest footage of my arrest by @LASDHQ.

It’s how I remember it — like being tossed around in the ocean and then slammed into rock pic.twitter.com/G3rfCR1NiI

— Josie Huang (@josie_huang) September 14, 2020

She "ignored repeated commands to stay back as they struggled with the male and interfered with the arrest," the department said.

It added: "The female adult, who was later identified as a member of the press, did not identify herself as press and later admitted she did not have proper press credentials on her person."

After being released, Huang took to Twitter to say she had been wearing her press pass on a lanyard around her neck at the time.

She also shared videos that show her verbally identifying herself as a reporter to deputies numerous times.

In one clip, Huang can be heard screaming for help as several deputies pin her to the ground.

Last night I was arrested and charged with obstructing a peace officer by @LASDHQ after videotaping their interactions with protesters in Lynwood. This is what I remember and what I have on video and audio.

— Josie Huang (@josie_huang) September 13, 2020

I texted video to editors. When I looked up from my phone, the small group of men had dispersed & deputies were following at least 1 man down the street.

I walked behind, using the zoom on my camera so I could keep physical distance. A couple deputies looked at me as I filmed. pic.twitter.com/q5Qdf4IY3N

— Josie Huang (@josie_huang) September 13, 2020

Somehow I was able to start a new video right away. You see my phone clatter to the ground and I start shouting “I’m a reporter...I’m with KPCC.” I scream for help from the TV reporters I know are around the corner doing their 11 p.m. live hits pic.twitter.com/O9CZNuSrQI

— Josie Huang (@josie_huang) September 13, 2020

I was put in the back of a patrol car -- the start of some 5 hours in LASD custody that began with the deputy refusing to uncuff me so I could put my face covering back on, telling me I just had a “scrape” when I was bleeding from my foot and not giving me back a shoe

— Josie Huang (@josie_huang) September 13, 2020

Huang said she had been covering the sheriff's news conference after the shooting of two deputies in Compton when she returned to the hospital after hearing shouting outside the parking garage.

"It was almost 11 pm. Then I heard loud shouting outside the garage, so I went to check things out. I had a lanyard around my neck with a press ID," she wrote.

One of a number of videos Huang said she shot moments before her arrest showed a handful of men yelling at deputies outside the hospital.

"A couple were carrying large flags. Others were filming deputies and taunting them. One deputy pointed a weapon at the protesters," she wrote. "I started filming on my phone, standing off to the side. No one took issue with me being there."

Later, she said deputies "rushed one man and chased another."

She added: "I was filming an arrest when suddenly deputies shout "back up." Within seconds, I was getting shoved around. There was nowhere to back up."

In another tweet, Huang said she managed to start filming again seconds before her phone falls out of her hand.

In that video, Huang can be heard shouting, "I'm a reporter... I'm with KPCC" as she is apparently knocked to the ground.

She added: "You see my phone clatter to the ground and I start shouting "I'm a reporter...I'm with KPCC." I scream for help from the TV reporters I know around the corner doing their 11 p.m. live hits.

"After my phone drops, it keeps recording and it captures two deputies damaging my phone by kicking and stepping on it. I can hear myself in the background shouting: "You guys are hurting me" and "Stop it." It feels very out-of-body to play this back."

Huang also shared footage captured by other reporters at the scene, where she is heard shouting her KPCC affiliation numerous times while being restrained by several deputies. "It's how I remember it — like being tossed around in the ocean and then slammed into rock," Huang wrote alongside that clip.

Huang added that she had been held in custody for around five hours.

Her ordeal began with a deputy "refusing to uncuff me so I could put my face covering back on, telling me I just had a "scrape" when I was bleeding from my foot and not giving me back a shoe," she said. Huang has been contacted for additional comment.

KPCC's executive editor Megan Garvey said Huang had just finished drafting a tweet when she was arrested. Garvey later shared photos on Twitter that showed cuts and bruises Huang had sustained.

So @josie_huang is out. A bit bruised but heading home pic.twitter.com/qVR43rJGij

— Megan Garvey (@garveymcvg) September 13, 2020

In a statement, KPCC called for the charge against Huang to be dropped.

"We offer condolences to the two sheriff deputies who were shot Saturday evening," the station said, according to LAist. "These are challenging and stressful times for everyone, but Josie Huang was arrested while doing her job. The charges should be dropped."

The statement added that Huang's arrest was "the latest in a series of troubling interactions between our reporters and some local law enforcement officers. Journalists provide an essential service, providing fair, accurate and timely journalism and without them, our democracy is at risk."

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department told Newsweek an investigation is underway regarding Huang's arrest.

"We are aware of the incident which occurred in front of a hospital, which resulted in two arrests. There is footage of the incident and an active investigation is underway," the spokesperson said. "We are unable to comment further at this time."

The office of the Los Angeles County Inspector General has opened an investigation into Huang's arrest, according to KPCC reporter Frank Stoltze.

LASD
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies move in to disperse a crowd of demonstrators gathered to protest again in the wake of Dijon Kizzee's killing, outside the South LA sheriff's station on September 8, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images