The Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service said it was “completely unnecessary” to detain reporter Edgar Mendez for two hours for taking photos of squad cars in a police parking lot. The police say he was trespassing.
A Milwaukee journalist working on a story about police response times was arrested after taking photographs of squad cars in a Milwaukee Police Department parking lot, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Edgar Mendez of Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, was issued a $181 ticket for trespassing but only after being handcuffed, fingerprinted and questioned at a police station. A police spokesman said no-trespassing signs were clearly marked and that Mendez had no press credentials on him when he was pulled over Sunday after leaving the lot.
News Service Editor Sharon McGowan said Mendez’s treatment appeared excessive and that the agency plans to contest the citation. “The whole thing was completely unnecessary,” said McGowan, who asked the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press for assistance. “It was unnecessary for him to be handcuffed at the station. He was fingerprinted and interrogated and detained for more than two hours,” she said. A police spokesman said Mendez’s treatment was “typical” for a trespassing charge. Mendez said he was told that police were on heightened security because of the fatal shooting of officer Michael Michalski. Mendez has been honored for his reporting and columns on the inequitable enforcement of marijuana laws, poverty, homelessness and racism.