News

May 29, 2019

US – #WeeklyAddress: May 20 – May 26: San Francisco police union calls for department chief’s resignation over controversial raid on journalist’s home

Below are the most notable incidents regarding threats to press freedom in the US during the week of May 20 - 26:

SF police union calls for department chief’s resignation over controversial raid on journalist’s home

Two days after suggesting a controversial May 10 raid on journalist Bryan Carmody’s home was due to Carmody’s participation in a criminal conspiracy to steal an internal police report and sell it to local news stations, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott issued a public apology for the raid. Scott told the San Francisco Chronicle that the warrant applications for the raid did not adequately identify Carmody as a journalist and that the officers who carried out the warrants violated department policy. Police officers forcibly entered Carmody’s home with a sledgehammer and detained the reporter for seven hours, calling into question whether officers violated California’s shield law. A San Francisco police union released a statement in response on May 25 calling for his resignation as a consequence of the raid. 

When asked about the conspiracy allegation, which Scott shared during a May 21 press conference, Carmody said he was “speechless” and denied paying for or conspiring to steal the police report. The report, which Carmody received from a confidential source in February, held details surrounding the death of San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi. Carmody then sold his reporting, which included the leaked document, to three television news stations, a common practice for journalists known as “stringers.” During a hearing at a San Francisco Superior Court on May 21, the judge didn’t rule on Carmody’s motions, including to quash and unseal the warrants used to enter his home. However, a police attorney said Carmody would receive the property police had seized from his home during the raid, including his laptop and several thousand dollars worth of devices and materials.

 

 

Trump administration adds new charges against Julian Assange for violating Espionage Act

The Justice Department indicted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on May 23 on 17 new counts of violating the Espionage Act for obtaining and publishing classified government documents on his website in 2010. The case focuses on Assange’s role in the leak of thousands of classified State Department and military documents by former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. These charges follow a previous case brought against Assange last month, when he was charged with one count of “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion,” related to an alleged attempt to help Manning hack a government computer to obtain classified information. For more on this, read RSF’s press release: “Trump administration adds new charges against Julian Assange for violating Espionage Act.”

 


The United States ranks 48th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2019 World Press Freedom Index.

 

For the latest updates, follow RSF on twitter @RSF_en.