Video shows CT Post reporter being detained during vigil, protest

Posted: Updated:
BRIDGEPORT -

A video shows a Connecticut Post reporter being detained by Bridgeport police during a vigil and protest demonstration.

Reporter Tara O'Neill tweeted out the video during the incident Thursday.

An officer can be heard saying, "You have to move," and O'Neill responds, "I'm on a public sidewalk. I'm the press."

She was detained during a vigil and protest for 15-year-old Jayson Negron who was shot and killed by a police officer in 2017. Police say Negron struck the officer with a stolen car before the police opened fire.

At least 11 other people were arrested at the two-year anniversary and vigil for the teen.

MORE: 11 arrested at vigil, glass bottle thrown at officer 

Police say protesters threw a glass container at officers after the crowd was given five minutes to clear the street and did not comply.

O'Neill was detained and not arrested. She was later released and not charged.

O'Neill also tweeted that the officer later apologized to her saying he "didn't know she was a journalist." 

O'Neill says she was surprised she was detained at all, and the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists later condemned her arrest as inconsistent with the exercise of 1st Amendment rights.

“I just was doing my job, I was standing on a public sidewalk, which was fully within my right as a member of the public and especially as a member of the media filming police and community interactions which is something that has been tense in the past in Bridgeport,” says O’Neill.

News 12 exclusive obtained police body cam footage from the protest. The video shows police standing peacefully while protesters shout at them. Even when tensions run high, city officials say officers kept their composure, showing that, "it was the protestors, not police, who caused the encounter to get out of hand."

"The Bridgeport Police Department last night acted in a way that was in the interest of the city's public safety at large, they helped control the traffic and people getting home safely,” says Bridgeport communications director Rowena White.

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