Tag Archives: Jonathan

Two Highway Patrolmen Disciplined for Reporting Foulups

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Highway Patrol is demoting a captain and recommending a five-day suspension for a sergeant after the agency says the two falied to properly report an incident involving a state trooper last month.
The state Department of Safety and Homeland Security said Thursday that Col. Tracy Trott moved to demote David Allred from captain to lieutenant of the Cookeville District and recommended suspension for Sgt. Keven Norris for violating department policy.
The department said in a news release that internal investigators found that Allred and Norris failed to properly report an incident involving Trooper Jonathan Reed on March 27. The district attorney found no evidence of criminal activity by Allred or Norris.
Details of the incident were not disclosed, but the release said Reed is on approved medical leave.

Arrested Reporter Writes His Story

Jonathan Meador, the Nashville Scene reporter arrested along with Occupy Nashville protesters, has written up an account of the evening. Excerpts:
While waiting in line to be processed onto the idling Department of Correction bus along with the others who’d been snatched up, I started to burp up my meal from earlier in the evening — an overpriced hamburger with fries and Jack and Coke. The trooper shot me a smirk.
“Smells like you been drinkin’ tonight,” he said. A few moments later, he informed one of his comrades to cite me for public intoxication.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” I said. At that moment I happened to notice my colleagues standing near the bus, in various stages of what I can only describe as freaking the hell out. I yelled out to them to call my editor.
…(After being arrested and listening to conversations of others arrested) Normally, such talk strikes me as the fringe ramblings of stereotypical anarchists or right-wing conspiracists. But after what happened tonight, I felt only a chill.
On and on it went, while all I could think of was getting home to bed. Abruptly, we heard cheers erupt from the women’s cell. One of them had been checking her Twitter account. She learned that the sitting magistrate — again, Tom Nelson — threw out the charges against us and demanded that we be released immediately.
Since the troopers hadn’t confiscated any of my equipment, I pulled out my phone and began clandestinely tweeting in the cell. Indeed, multiple sources were reporting that Nelson declared our detainment unconstitutional. “Can I go home now?” I tweeted. To celebrate, I gathered the men into a line and proceeded to take their picture with my smart phone.
“All right,” I said. “Say, ‘Bill Haslam!’ ”
It was a stupid act of bravado, though. When I attempted to upload the picture to the Internet, one of the guards caught me. “Hey!” he shouted. “You can’t be playin’ with that in here!”
He attempted to take it from me and I pulled it back. That was a bad idea. The guard smacked the phone out of my hand, and it ricocheted off the concrete cell wall. “You know I could charge you with a felony for that?” he screamed. “That’s contraband! You’re not supposed to have that in here! That’s a felony!”
Everyone was quiet. I didn’t feel so brave now. I said I hadn’t been searched. I said nothing of mine had been confiscated. I even pointed out no one had told me the items were illegal.
“I know your little buddy, this guy, here was here last night,” he said, pointing to one of the men who’d been arrested in the previous night’s raid. “He knows better. He shoulda told you. I know he knows better.”
“Nobody said anything,” I said. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”
For a moment the guard stood there. He turned around and picked up my phone, which, surprisingly, was intact. He handed it back to me.
“Since these are … special circumstances,” he shouted, “I’m going to give this back to you. But don’t play with it again!”
I thanked him. I slid the phone into my laptop bag. My cellmates started laughing when he left the room.

Arrested Reporter’s Boss Gets ‘Rationalization,’ Not an Apology

Excerpt from a TNReport story, mostly on reactions of legislators — predictably, along partisan lines — to Gov. Bill Haslam’s handling of the Occupy Nashville arrests.
Haslam expressed no regret Tuesday about his decisions, although he did say Commissioner of Safety Bill Gibbons contacted an editor to express regrets about the arrest of reporter Jonathan Meador of the Nashville Scene in the roundup. Chris Ferrell, CEO of SouthComm Inc., which publishes the Nashville Scene, said Tuesday he did not consider Gibbons’ response an apology.
“It was more of a rationalization for their actions than an apology,” Ferrell said when contacted by phone.
Ferrell had publicly asked Haslam for an apology for Meador’s arrest. Ferrell talked to Gibbons on Monday, and Gibbons sent a follow-up e-mail. Ferrell said the conversation lasted two or three minutes.
But when asked if he was satisfied with the response he received, Ferrell said, “No. Because they still haven’t apologized for what seems to me a clear violation of the First Amendment, that when the officers grabbed Jonathan he clearly identified himself as a journalist.
“They should have verified that and then let him go. The fact that they did not, I think, is of concern to journalists everywhere.”
Ferrell said he had not talked to Haslam, although he had tried to contact the governor through his communications office as recently as Monday.
Gibbons’ statement to Ferrell said, in part: “Obviously, it was not our intention to take any member of the press doing his or her job into custody for trespassing. I regret any confusion regarding Mr. Meador’s role.”

Gibbons on Reporter’s Arrest

Statement from Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons, as reported by The Tennessean:
“As I noted in our conversation, based on our review of the video available to us and interviews with the troopers, we believe the troopers acted reasonably and in good faith and had probable cause to charge Mr. Meador.
“As I mentioned to you, video shows that, as other reporters were moving away from the protesters, Mr. Meador placed himself in the middle of them. To our knowledge, he had no visible media credentials. Regarding the public intoxication charge, based upon the smell of alcohol and their interaction with him, troopers understandably concluded that he was intoxicated.
“Given the circumstances, the troopers did not take Mr. Meador’s claim to be a member of the media seriously. Unfortunately, but also somewhat understandably,they did not ask Mr. Meador to produce his press credentials.
“Obviously, it was not our intention to take any member of the press doing his or her job into custody for trespassing. I regret any confusion regarding Mr. Meador’s role.”

SPJ Protests Arrest of Nashville Scene Reporter

The Board of the Middle Tennessee Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists, has set a letter to Gov. Bill Haslam and Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons protesting the arrest and detention of Nashville Scene reporter Jonathan Meador early Saturday at the Legislative Plaza.
Text of the letter is below.

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