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Correcting Sheriff Villanueva's Narrative About Our Reporter's Arrest

KPCC/LAist correspondent Josie Huang being detained by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department on September 12, 2020. She was trying to report on deputies arresting a protester outside the hospital where two deputies were being treated after being shot. (ABC7 via Twitter user @TheChalkOutline)
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Shortly before being arrested on Sunday, KPCC/LAist reporter Josie Huang had been covering an evening press conference at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, about the ambush shooting of two L.A. County Sheriff's deputies. Afterward, as she was preparing to leave, she heard noise in front of the hospital and went to see a small group of protestors chanting and taunting deputies on the scene.

Before long, Huang saw an arrest underway and began documenting it — only to get arrested herself, despite repeatedly saying that she was a reporter, and despite video evidence that shows she was not a threat.

Several journalists and media organizations, including NPR, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Los Angeles Times Guild and the Reporters Committee For Freedom of the Press condemned the arrest as an attack on press freedoms and the First Amendment.

Yet, LASD and Sheriff Alex Villanueva have doubled down on their narrative, stating on Twitter, KTLA and in a press conference that Huang "refused deputies' instructions" and was "creating a hazard."

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The sheriff's department has not responded to our requests for comment on this matter, so we are setting the record straight.


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