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Protesters gather in Sacramento, California, on March 4, 2019. Three journalists were detained when police broke up the demonstration. (AFP/Justin Sullivan)

CPJ welcomes Sacramento police commitments to new journalist protection protocols

April 10, 2019 12:45 PM ET

New York, April 10, 2019 -- The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes commitments made by Daniel Hahn, the chief of police of Sacramento, California, to make changes to the way the department treats journalists during protests.

CPJ and a number of press freedom groups met with Hahn on April 8 to discuss the recent detention of journalists during a demonstration in the city, review department policies and procedures, and devise a plan to ensure journalists' safety going forward. CPJ requested the meeting in response to the police force detaining three reporters during a protest on March 4.

"We are pleased that Chief Hahn was open to changes in police protocols to safeguard the rights of journalists during protests," Alexandra Ellerbeck, CPJ's North America coordinator, said. "We see this as an important opportunity for change, and we are excited to be working with Sacramento and other press freedom groups to ensure that journalists in the city can do their jobs without fear of being arrested."

At the meeting, Chief Hahn committed to developing new procedures for how police treat journalists when officers issue a dispersal order during a protest. He said the department will also review model policies developed by Mickey Osterreicher, the general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, and consider additional training.

In addition to Osterreicher, CPJ was joined at the meeting by Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and David Snyder, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition.

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