Former LEO Weekly staff writer Jonathan Meador was arrested early this morning while covering the Occupy Nashville protest. Meador — now a staff writer for LEO’s sister publication, the Nashville Scene — apparently identified himself as a reporter, but was arrested nonetheless.
Turns out the First Amendment is still alive and well in Nashville’s judicial branch, however, as a night court judge chastised the state troopers involved and ordered them to release the 25 peaceful protesters, as well as Meador.
In making the arrests outside Nashville’s Legislative Plaza, state troopers cited a new “curfew enforcement” policy, which Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam fully endorses.
Meanwhile, Chris Ferrell, CEO of SouthComm — parent company to both LEO and the Nashville Scene — has sent an email to the governor asking that he apologize to Meador:
“I expect the Governor to publicly apologize to him for this violation of his rights and to assure the people of Tennessee that this administration will not interfere with the right to a free press that has been a fundamental right in the country since our founding.”
Ferrell went on to say:
“I’m sure you understand that every media outlet in this country will vigorously defend our right to cover government action without fear of arrest or reprisal.”