(photo is screenshot from ABC15)

SABEW issued the following statement regarding the lack of public comment from the Phoenix Police Department who detained a Wall Street Journal reporter conducting interviews:

SABEW calls on the Phoenix Police Department to publicly report on the actions taken since November when they detained a Wall Street Journal reporter. Dion Rabouin was handcuffed by police while he was conducting interviews outside a JP Morgan Chase bank branch. SABEW is deeply troubled by the alarming conduct of the Phoenix Police Department. The incident happened last November and recently garnered national attention when KNXV-ABC15 Phoenix television station reported that the Phoenix Police Department was investigating the incident. Rabouin was released and has not been charged. “It is highly unusual for a business reporter to be questioned by police while on assignment,” SABEW First Amendment Committee chair Henry Dubroff said. “The detention of any reporter who is simply doing their job is appalling and a direct affront to democracy. The Phoenix Police Department should explain in detail what happened and make clear that it understands the rights afforded journalists by the First Amendment.”

The Wall Street Journal released the following statement: “We’re deeply concerned that Wall Street Journal reporter Dion Rabouin was detained, handcuffed and placed in the back of a police vehicle while reporting. We have asked the Phoenix Police Department to pursue a thorough investigation into the incident and explain why their officers needlessly escalated the situation and took these aggressive steps. We await their response. No journalist should ever be detained simply for exercising their First Amendment rights.”

Matt Murray, editor in chief at The Wall Street Journal, also wrote a letter to the Phoenix Police Department about the incident.

The Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and Chase Bank executives personally apologized to Rabouin. Phoenix is under a Department of Justice pattern of practice investigation with a key focus on the violation of people’s First Amendment rights.

SABEW will update members as we learn more about the results of the investigation. SABEW’s First Amendment Committee extends our support to Rabouin and his colleagues.