Reed Dunlea
Freelance U.S. journalist Reed Dunlea was arrested while covering a protest against Israel's attacks on Gaza in Brooklyn on February 10, 2024. He was released around midnight. (Screenshot: YouTube/Loudlabs News)

New York police arrest, charge journalist Reed Dunlea during protest against Israel

Washington, D.C., February 14, 2024—New York City law enforcement should immediately drop all charges against freelance journalist Reed Dunlea and take steps to ensure that reporters are not detained while covering protests, the Committee to Protect Journalists said on Wednesday. 

Dunlea was collecting audio for his podcast, Scene Report, at a February 10 protest in Brooklyn against Israel’s attacks on Gaza when he was arrested and charged with resisting arrest, a Class A misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to one year in prison, according to Dunlea, who spoke with CPJ in a phone interview, and his desk appearance ticket, which was reviewed by CPJ.

“We are very concerned by the arrest of freelance journalist Reed Dunlea, who was simply doing his job and covering matters of public interest,” said Katherine Jacobsen, CPJ’s U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean program coordinator. “New York authorities should immediately drop all charges against Dunlea. Arresting reporters is a way to stop the story from getting out and is a form of censorship. The NYPD must do better.”

Dunlea told CPJ that he was recording audio of an officer and protester yelling at one another when the officer ordered him to move away onto the sidewalk. Dunlea said he then identified himself as a journalist and showed his New York City-issued press pass, which he was wearing around his neck.

As the NYPD began detaining more protesters, Dunlea said he was “tackled” to the ground by approximately five officers before being handcuffed and led to a nearby police van. His audio recorder, a Zoom H6, and his Apple headphones were broken during the altercation.   

Dunlea told CPJ that he was then transported to One Police Plaza, the NYPD headquarters, arriving at approximately 2:30 p.m. During his time in custody, police confiscated Dunlea’s electronics, including his cellphone and recording equipment. When the equipment was returned upon his release, Dunlea said that the audio he had recorded of the protests was no longer on the memorycard he had used.

Dunlea was released around midnight and issued with a desk appearance ticket ordering him to appear in court on March 1 at 5 p.m.

In addition to his work as a freelance audio reporter, Dunlea also works as the press secretary at a New York City-based nonprofit, and has also written for publications including the progressive local paper, The Indypendent. He previously worked as a visual journalist and writer for Rolling Stone. 

CPJ reached out the NYPD public information office for comment but did not immediately receive a response.