March 9, 2015

The Toledo Blade

Government officials agreed to pay The (Toledo, Ohio) Blade $18,000 after the paper filed a 2014 lawsuit alleging journalists Jetta Fraser and Tyrel Linkhorn were unlawfully detained. Jennifer Feehan reports:

Fritz Byers, attorney for The Blade, said the settlement was made under the First Amendment Privacy Protection Act, which prohibits the government, in connection with the investigation of a criminal offense, from searching or seizing any work product materials possessed by a journalist.

The money is compensation “for seizing the cameras of a photographer and deleting photographs” that were taken before the two journalists were detained at the Lima (Ohio) Army Tank Plant.

Among other things, the complaint filed by The Blade alleges that three military police officers stopped and questioned Fraser and Linkhorn after Fraser identified herself as a photographer for the paper and explained why the pair were taking pictures. Fraser was ordered out of the passenger side of a Toledo Blade-owned car and handcuffed “for more than an hour,” Feehan writes.

The complaint also says the military police officers referred to Fraser, a female, using masculine terms. After she objected and requested the officer use the appropriate form of address, one of the military police officers said, “You say you are a female, I’m going to go under your bra,” according to the complaint.

$5,000 of the settlement will be donated to Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, according to The Blade. Fraser and Linkhorn will share the rest.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
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