Warning to US Corporations: Some Reporters WILL Press Charges
Last week -- in a piece titled, Warning to US Journalists: Do NOT Ask Difficult Questions of Powerful CEOs -- we reported how Mike Elk, a journalist for In These Times, had a microphone ripped from his hands when trying to question Honeywell CEO David Cote during a public event in Washington and was subsequently barricaded in a room by a Honeywell employee and GOP congressional aide. In the direct aftermath of the incident, he declined an offer by Capitol Police to press charges.
On Tuesday, however, Elk changed his mind.
Statement from Mike Elk:
"[On Tuesday 6/5], I filed criminal charges for false imprisonment against Honeywell External Communications Director Rob Ferris and simple assault charges against Nicolas D. Muzin, Senior Advisor to Congressman Tim Scott (R-SC). At first, I was hesitant to press criminal charges because I did not want to seem like a "cry baby". However after taking to other journalists as well as many concerned Congressional staffers, I decided that allowing the intimidation of reporters in the US Capitol to go unchallenged is a scary precedent to set. The US Capitol is a public building open to reporters and private individuals should not be allowed to impede on freedom of press. Honeywell may financially own the Congress, but the building is still public property & should be open to the press.
The charges will be forwarded to the US Attorney's office who will decide whether or not they will prosecute the matter to the full extent of the law. I believe that as members of the press its important we continue talking about this story so as to stand up for freedom of the press and the ability to ask tough questions of public figures in public buildings."
For additional background information and reporting see the PR Daily.
Video of the incident: