This post has been updated with the latest developments in the Jeremy Portje matter.
First Amendment Coalition and the Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California Chapter sent a letter today to Marin County and Sausalito city officials warning of potential violations of federal and state law in the arrest of journalist Jeremy Portje last week.
Portje was filming at a homeless encampment in Sausalito on November 30, when he was arrested and his equipment seized by Sausalito police. News articles cover the arrest and seizure here, here, and here.
The joint letter to Marin County District Attorney Lori Frugoli, Sausalito Mayor Jill Hoffman, and Sausalito Police Chief John Rohrbacher asks for the immediate return of Portje’s photo and other equipment to him and defends the media’s right to film in public places. The organizations also ask that criminal charges not be pursued against Portje and for an investigation into the Sausalito police officers’ conduct in this case.
The full letter can be read here and below.
SPJ Nor Cal, email@example.com
FAC, David Snyder, executive director, firstname.lastname@example.org, (415) 460-5060
Update: On Dec. 17, FAC learned that law enforcement obtained a search for Portje’s photograph gear and electronics. Read FAC’s follow-up letter to Marin County authorities condemning the issuance of a search warrant.
Update: On Dec. 28, FAC, joined by the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, filed an amicus curiae letter in Marin County Superior Court in support of Jeremy Portje’s motion to quash a search warrant. Read FAC’s letter brief. The same day, the Marin County District Attorney’s office announced its decision to file no charges against Portje. Read the DA’s statement. Read related news coverage: Marin Independent Journal, San Francisco Chronicle and Pacific Sun.
Read the Dec. 7 letter by FAC and SPJ NorCal to Marin County authorities following news of the arrest of Jeremy Portje and seizure of his photography gear.