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Chicago Police Detain Reporters

By Chris Bentley in News on Mar 19, 2012 3:30PM

Chicago Police detained two reporters outside a hospital where a drive-by shooting victim was being treated Sunday.

Apparently at the request of Mt. Sinai hospital security guards, police arrived and told the media scrum to back up. The group had already moved from the sidewalk in front of the hospital to a median in the middle of Ogden avenue.

When some journalists refused to move further, police handcuffed and detained WGN-TV’s Dan Ponce and NBC 5 photographer Donte Williams. They did not charge the reporters, who were covering the story of a 6-year-old girl who was shot in South Lawndale.

“Your First Amendment rights can be terminated if you’re creating a scene,” the officer who handcuffed the reporters said. Video from their exchange shows no “scene” to speak of beyond the tension between police and reporters.

Hospital security guards said reporters tried to trespass into restricted areas of the hospital, according to a statement released later by the police department. WGN-TV News Director Greg Caputo also released a statement denying allegations of trespassing.

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