A journalist was arrested by Bridgeport police officers Thursday night while covering protests against police violence.
Tara O’Neill is on the police beat for the Connecticut Post, a Hearst Connecticut Media publication. She tweeted footage of her arrest, and said she “was released after being handcuffed, put in the back of a cop car and taken to booking.”
— Tara O'Neill (@Tara_ONeill_) May 10, 2019
Matt DeRienzo, vice president of news and digital content for Hearst Connecticut Media, told the Post her arrest was “extremely troubling.”
“Tara O’Neill is a dedicated reporter who is well-known to Bridgeport police and police leadership,” he said. “There’s no chance this was a case of mistaken identity. They arrested a reporter while she was doing her job.”
Thursday’s protests came on the second anniversary of the fatal police shooting of Bridgeport teenager Jayson Negron, and came in the wake of two other police shootings in New Haven and Wethersfield. The officer who shot Negron was cleared after an investigation.
Connecticut Public Radio’s Vanessa de la Torre wrote about the state’s report at the time of its release:
State’s Attorney Maureen Platt said in the report that police Officer James Boulay, a rookie on the force, was justified in shooting Negron after a brief car chase in Bridgeport.
The investigative report said Boulay fired his weapon after Negron, behind the wheel of a stolen car, reversed and hit Boulay as the officer reached into the car to apprehend the teenager.
Despite being detained, Hearst’s O’Neill still filed her report. “The group marched throughout the downtown area, protesting that Boulay remains an officer with Bridgeport police,” she wrote. A protester threw an object at police officers who were monitoring the gathering. They gave the group five minutes to disperse and then began arresting those who remained.
Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim reportedly told DeRienzo that he urged the police chief to reconsider O’Neill’s arrest, but didn’t want to interfere.
When she was released, O’Neill said there were still protesters in holding cells.