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Daily Caller reporters arrested and held overnight while covering Louisville protests

CNN logo CNN 9/25/2020 By Alec Snyder and Mallika Kallingal, CNN
a sign in front of a birthday cake: A protester stands in Jefferson Square in Louisville, Kentucky. © John Minchillo/AP A protester stands in Jefferson Square in Louisville, Kentucky.

Two journalists with The Daily Caller, a conservative online news outlet based in Washington, were arrested late Wednesday night while covering the Breonna Taylor protests in Louisville, Kentucky.

Jorge Ventura and Shelby Talcott were trailing a group of protesters after the 9:00 p.m. curfew when officers from the Louisville Metro Police Department allegedly began firing rubber bullets at the crowd, Ventura told CNN Thursday. Soon after, they and Kentucky State Police ordered everyone in the protest to get down on the ground, Ventura added.

Ventura said he and Talcott showed the officers their press credentials and Talcott began communicating with their editor-in-chief, Geoffrey Ingersoll, before they were arrested with zip ties.

CNN has reached out to the Louisville police for comment.

The protest was being held outside the jail where they were eventually held, Ventura said. Soon after arriving, one of the superior officers came in from another room asking him to confirm his identity and press affiliation, which Ventura said he did. The officer then told Ventura he was going to go speak to his editor -- who was on the line -- about the situation, but when the officer came back, Ventura said he was told he would still be charged and held overnight.

Charging documents obtained by CNN show that Ventura was officially charged with failing to obey a local county ordinance and failure to disperse, both of which are misdemeanors, according to what Ventura was told.

Ventura said he and Talcott were eventually separated into adjacent male and female holding cells, and they could only communicate by eye contact.

The nature of the zip ties had all the protesters physically detained together, and he used his free hand to tweet about the situation and what he was experiencing in real time, according to Ventura. He said he was told he would be released at about 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. Thursday, "no later than 6:30 in the morning," but says he wasn't out until 1 p.m. He added that he was among the first of those detained to leave and that he and roughly 40 other protesters were detained in the same holding cell with social distancing protocols not followed.

Talcott tweeted Thursday evening that she had been released, which Ventura said was around 5:00 p.m.

He said he was mostly confused about why his editor's phone call explaining the situation wasn't sufficient for their release.

"I still can't make sense of that," he said. "After speaking with my boss, I think they could've done a little bit more. It just doesn't really make sense to talk to my boss once he knew we were accredited journalists. Why even take the phone call then?"

Ventura said he appreciated the support from The Daily Caller whose co-founder, Neil Patel, sent a Twitter thread that included threats to sue the Louisville Metro Police Department.

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