Police Detain UpTake Journalist For Helping Her Assistant

Sam Mayfield in Madison Wisconsin

Earlier today, “BadgerGurl88″ shot this video of videographer Sam Mayfield being detained by Wisconsin State Police at the Capitol in Madison. Sam is in town working on a documentary film about upstart Republican Governor Scott Walker’s crusade to take away workers’ collective bargaining rights. She has shot video of the historic labor demonstrations periodically this spring for The UpTake.

Sam checked in with us immediately after this incident. She is being charged with disorderly conduct. Watch the video for yourself and decide if that’s an overreach by police. Watch what happens @1:31 into the video

The woman in the video who is initially being arrested by police is Sam’s assistant Alex Noguera-Garces who is helping her shoot the documentary. According to Sam, Alex was arrested after she videotaped police “roughing up” people. Alex was told to leave the public building, which she didn’t and then she was arrested.

As Alex is being ushered into the elevator she hands Sam the camera she has been using to shoot. Police drag Alex out of the elevator and chase down Sam, putting her in a bear hug. The two are both taken into the elevator. Sam is later charged with disorderly conduct and released.

Although being mostly ignored by the media, the workers’ rights movement in Madison, Wisconsin continues to maintain a presence at the State Capitol, now in “Walkerville” a tent city named after the Wisconsin’s Governor ā€” much like shanty towns were named “Hoovervilles” to mock the Great Depression policies of President Herbert Hoover.

This isn’t the first time that police have arrested journalists trying to protect their helpers. You may recall during the Republican National Convention, Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman was arrested for protecting one of her journalists. Listen to Goodman talk about how she is suing over the incident here. You may find interesting parallels between the two situations.

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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