Closing arguments are expected today in the trial of a Des Moines Register reporter who was arrested while she was covering a racial justice protest last May.
Andrea Sahouri testified in her own defense Tuesday “I wasn’t doing anything wrong, so I put up my hands. I said: ‘I’m press. I’m press. I’m press,'” she said. “He grabbed me, pepper sprayed me and as he was doing so said: ‘That’s not what I asked.'”
Sahouri was arrested, but Katie Akin, another Des Moines Register reporter a few feet away, was not. Akin, who also testified yesterday, said she was confused Sahouri was being detained and Akin said she also told police Sahouri was a reporter.
“I didn’t understand us to be breaking any laws or doing anything wrong,” said Akin, who is now working for the Iowa Capital Dispatch.
The policeman who arrested Sahouri did not activate his body camera. Footage from another officer’s camera was played in court and Sahouri was heard saying: “I’m just doing my job. I’m a journalist.” The Freedom of the Press Foundation called that “a powerful scene in the courtroom…showing Sahouri clearly identified herself as a journalist.”
Sahouri was charged with failure to disperse and interference with official acts.
(By Iowa Public Radio’s Grant Gerlock/Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)
(Photo is a screen shot of video feed provided by the Drake Law School)