Black Wall Street Journal reporter detained, cuffed while working on bank story
Dion Rabouin submitted an internal complaint, claiming that a few weeks after the incident, a Phoenix official called to inform him they found no evidence of police misconduct relating to his detainment on Nov. 23, 2022.
Phoenix police are conducting an administrative probe into a Black Wall Street Journal reporter’s detainment while working on a bank story.
ABC15 News reported that the Nov. 23, 2022, incident involving Dion Rabouin prompted Journal editor-in-chief Matt Murray to send a letter to Phoenix Chief Michael Sullivan requesting a review and demanding they take action to protect journalists’ rights.
“I am appalled and concerned that officers at your department would attempt to interfere with Mr. Rabouin’s constitutional right to engage in journalism and purport to limit anyone’s presence in a public location,” Murray wrote, according to ABC15.
The event prompts further accusations that Phoenix violated First Amendment rights.
Rabouin, a journalist for the Journal based in New York, visited family in Phoenix for the Thanksgiving break.
He asserted that he dressed casually when he visited a Chase Bank location in north Phoenix to conduct man-on-the-street interviews for a report about savings accounts.
While he was on the sidewalk outside the building, two employees allegedly approached Rabouin and asked what he was doing before heading back inside.
The bank allegedly never asked him to leave, and he was unaware that the sidewalk was private property.
Rabouin said he identified himself to a police officer who showed up and told them bank employees knew what was going on, to which he replied, “Well, you can’t do that.”
Officer Caleb Zimmerman reported that bank staff claimed Rabouin refused to leave, and the reporter initially declined to identify himself.
A bystander started recording on her cell phone after seeing the scene unfold. Katelyn Parady’s video starts several minutes after the exchange between Rabouin and Zimmerman begins, with the reporter being placed in handcuffs.
Rabouin claimed that he told the officer he would leave if he weren’t on public property, but the officer shifted his body to keep him from doing so.
Zimmerman noted in his incident report that he had sufficient grounds to detain Rabouin for trespassing.
Backup officers came around eight minutes into the cell phone video. After two more minutes, with other cops present as witnesses, Zimmerman releases Rabouin from his handcuffs.
Rabouin submitted an internal complaint, claiming that a few weeks later, a Phoenix official called to inform him they found no evidence of police misconduct that day.
“As journalists, we don’t really want to be the story. We want to report the story,” Rabouin said, ABC15 reported. “I think it’s important to talk about. This is a department that’s under DOJ investigation for excessive force, under investigation for the way they operate and handle business, and despite that, they continue to operate this way.”
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