Law enforcement officers face off against pro-Palestinian protesters at the University of Texas in Austin on April 24, 2024. Officers arrested a FOX 7 Austin photographer covering the protest. (Photo: Reuters/Nuri Vallbona)

Texas police detain, charge FOX 7 Austin journalist covering pro-Palestinian protest

New York, April 25, 2024 — Texas authorities should immediately drop all charges against a FOX 7 Austin journalist detained while covering a pro-Palestinian protest and take steps to ensure journalists can do their jobs safely and without interference, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday.

Law enforcement officers arrested a FOX 7 Austin photographer — identified only by his first name, Carlos — covering a pro-Palestinian protest on the University of Texas at Austin campus on Wednesday alongside more than 30 other people, according to news reports and the outlet’s coverage.

Footage on social media showed officers pushing the journalist, who was carrying a camera, to the ground. FOX 7 said he was then detained and charged with criminal trespassing.

“We are very concerned by the violent arrest of a FOX 7 Austin journalist who was simply doing his job and covering matters of public interest,” said Carlos Martínez de la Serna, CPJ’s program director, in New York. “Authorities should immediately drop all charges against the photographer and ensure that law enforcement officers respect journalists and allow them to report safely and without interference.”

CPJ’s email to the Austin police public information office requesting comment did not immediately receive a response.