The Society of Professional Journalists spent an eternity trying to reach a conclusion many of us reached weeks ago.Here’s the press release they sent out today:INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists, which works to improve and protect journalism, urges Connecticut law enforcement to drop its charges against Ken Krayeske, who was arrested while trying to take pictures of a public event while standing in a public place.
Krayeske, an independent journalist, was arrested Jan. 3 during the inaugural parade of Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell. He was standing on a street median when officers stopped him.Krayeske, who is charged with breach of peace and interfering with an officer, is scheduled to appear in court March 2.“It’s not too late for Connecticut police to stop this fiasco and embarrassment to law enforcement,” said SPJ’s National President Christine Tatum, an assistant business editor at The Denver Post. “Police officers should not be faulted for stopping Mr. Krayeske and inquiring about his actions if they believed he may have been a threat to the governor. But it shouldn’t have taken almost 12 hours and a trip to a police station for officers to determine that a man who identified himself as a journalist and who was carrying a knapsack containing little more than his camera meant no harm to Gov. Rell.“Too much debate has focused on whether Krayeske, who has worked on political campaigns and urged political activism on his Web site, was acting as a journalist at the time of his detainment. Was he acting as a journalist? It doesn’t matter. Krayeske was acting as a citizen of the United States and exercising the First Amendment rights guaranteed to everyone in this country.The Society of Professional Journalists is one of the nation’s largest and oldest journalism –advocacy organizations. SPJ is dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, and based in Indianapolis , SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed public, works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists, and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information about SPJ and SDX, please visit www.spj.org. Click here to read our previous story “SPJ Friend of Foe?”