Wednesday, November 2, 2011

JS Photojournalist Arrested By Local Police During Occupy Milwaukee Protest Near UWM

Kristyna Wentz-Graff being arrested by a Milwaukee police sergeant.

Image: UWM PantherVision

Journal Sentinel photojournalist was wearing press identification when taken into custody by a Milwaukee Police supervisor.

By H. Nelson Goodson
November 2, 2011

Milwaukee - On Wednesday, Kristyna Wentz-Graff, a Journal Sentinel photojournalist was taken into custody by a Milwaukee police supervisor. Wentz-Graff was arrested near the intersection of N. Oakland Ave. and E. Linnwood Ave. when police arrived at the scene to keep a group of about 30 people off the street.
The incident was captured by a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) PantherVision student. The group had left an Occupy Milwaukee protest rally at the UWM campus and were walking on the street without a permit.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Wentz-Graff was taking pictures of a confrontation between police and protesters when she was grabbed by an officer and then arrested. The group of protesters began their rally around noon on campus and afterwards left UWM by walking along a sidewalk and street when police arrived.
Anne Schwartz, Milwaukee Police Spokesperson told JSonline that those arrested had ignored repeated commands by police to clear the streets. None of the officers involved knew Wentz-Graff was a photojournalist or did she identify herself as one to police, according to Schwartz.
Martin Kaiser, Journal Sentinel Editor disputed Schwartz' account and released a statement. "At no time did Kristyna Wentz-Graff ignore any commands by any officer," Kaiser said. "She came upon the scene to do her job as a photojournalist. She was clearly not part of the protest. She was wearing her Journal Sentinel photo press credential. She was wearing her photography equipment while taking photographs of police making arrests when she was grabbed by a police officer and handcuffed. Her arrest was completely uncalled for and violates the First Amendment. No reason for her arrest has been provided," Kaiser said.
Schwartz confirmed that no one had been cited for a specific violation of any law. The matter was referred to the city attorney, the Journal Sentinel reported.

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