Nashville Journalist Arrested, Video Indicates Cops Lied About His Charge

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Over the weekend, a journalist from the Nashville Scene alt-weekly was arrested while covering the Occupy Nashville protests here in town.

The Tennessee state trooper who arrested Scene reporter Jonathan Meador last night on Legislative Plaza during the THP’s second late-night crackdown on the Occupy Nashville protests was kind enough to slip the small video flip-cam Meador was carrying back into his pocket. Thanks to him, Meador was able to produce this unedited video of his own arrest — or to be more accurate, the audio, since with troopers slamming Meador to the ground from behind and rendering him helpless, the image isn’t so hot.

No matter. The sound speaks volumes.

What you will hear, very clearly, is a trooper telling another officer to book Meador for resisting arrest. You will also hear, very clearly, audio evidence of Meador’s contention: that he was simply doing his job as a reporter and tried to get off the plaza to comply with the law — but the troopers wouldn’t let him off that easy.

What you will not hear, in any form or fashion, is the slightest mention of public intoxication — the specious charge against Meador the THP has broadcast to the world. If that charge was made up later to discredit Meador — or even more appallingly, to divert attention from what a Metro Night Court judge last night told officers was a blatantly unconstitutional overstepping of government and police authority — nobody who cares about their First Amendment freedoms should sleep in Tennessee tonight.

The publisher is demanding an apology from Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. Article also includes a quote from conservative blogger Bill Hobbs, who also says Meador didn’t appear at all intoxicated. Here’s the video. Or mostly audio:

 

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31 Responses to “Nashville Journalist Arrested, Video Indicates Cops Lied About His Charge”

  1. #1 |  Marty | 

    I’m guessing the new policy will be to not return cameras. damn.

  2. #2 |  Keith | 

    It’s nice that you stick up and defend your fellow reporter. Now how about a bit of love for all of the other Americans having their rights violated at various occupy sites.
    It would be nice to hear more from you, Radley, on the trampling of these rights, and the plight of middle class Americans trying to get their dignity back from the greedy financial institute that could care less about America.

  3. #3 |  damaged justice | 

    Keith: When you’d like to request that a reporter cover a certain story, t’s generally a good idea to ask politely instead phrasing everything like a snarky, passive-aggressive turd.

  4. #4 |  Radley Balko | 

    It would be nice to hear more from you, Radley, on the trampling of these rights, and the plight of middle class Americans trying to get their dignity back from the greedy financial institute that could care less about America.

    I just wrote a 1,500 word article about documenting police abuse at the Occupy protests. As for why I haven’t addressed “the plight of middle class Americans trying to get their dignity back from the greedy financial institute that could care less about America,” well, there’s a lot to unpack there. It also really isn’t my beat. If you want to throw a few extra hours of free time my way each day, I’ll be happy to start taking orders on what I should be writing about.

  5. #5 |  Chad Olsen | 

    The comments on that article are sickening.

  6. #6 |  Keith | 

    damaged justice: I wasn’t requesting anything, just making a statement. It is interesting though, that you take your time out of your day to call me names. Bored much?

    Radley: I wasn’t really “giving orders” as you say. “It would be nice to hear more from you” Where exactly am I giving orders?
    Touchy much?

  7. #7 |  Andrew S. | 

    Give it a rest, concern troll. Though you deserve extra trolling points for your ability to still be expressing the same concern while completely ignoring the relevant part of his response to you.

  8. #8 |  Phelps | 

    Apparently this is Keith’s first visit to the site, so we should go easy on him.

    We should set up a line on whether he next accuses Radley of being a Koch Brothers tool or a left-wing pinko. And an over-under on whether or not it includes a homosexual slur.

  9. #9 |  Bergman | 

    Re: #6, Keith:

    Takes all of ten seconds to reply to your trolling. 60 seconds, max. But you’ve now posted twice, and you were the first to make an unfounded accusation. Why are YOU so invested in this?

  10. #10 |  Keith | 

    Bergman, I am interested in what unfounded accusation you think I made.
    And Phelps, actually I have been reading Radley’s site for about 7 years now. I’ve keep my “Support Dissent” sticker proudly displayed on my truck for years.
    I’ve always liked and supported most of Radley’s work. If you go back and read what I wrote All I was doing was asking him to do more. I never said I was dis-pleased with anything Radley had done.
    If anything, this shows me how touchy and edgy some of his readers can be.

  11. #11 |  damaged justice | 

    For someone who for seven years has “always liked and supported most of Radley’s work”, you chose to phrase your request in a rather snarky, passive-aggressive and turdly fashion.

  12. #12 |  Jeff | 

    I bet that trooper has learned a lesson: destroy the evidence.

  13. #13 |  kant | 

    You know what appalls me the most about this video, the fact that if it had not been for the recording, meador would have been arrested, tried and convinced of resisting arrest.

    Ignoring the argument of the purpose resisting arrest’s existence for a moment. How is it that the courts continue to accept a charge that is damn near impossible to distinguish an actual act of “resisting arrest” and a willful act of fraud. How can the courts continue to accept that accusation alone constitutes a crime?

  14. #14 |  EH | 

    When was the last time a law enforcement officer was charged with violating a persons 1A rights?

  15. #15 |  EH | 

    Keith, “it would be nice” if you spent some time on my question.

  16. #16 |  Keith | 

    EH, I’m not really sure what to say about it. I don’t really know too much about it so I googled “When was the last time a law enforcement officer was charged with violating a persons first amendment rights?” and got this as the first hit. http://michiganmessenger.com/39903/dearborn-police-accused-of-violating-first-amendment
    I hope that helps.

  17. #17 |  EH | 

    The operative word was “charged.”

  18. #18 |  CSD | 

    At 1:13 to 1:16 in the video does the cop not say something like “take him over their with the scrawny bitches”?

    If someone heard something else let me know.

  19. #19 |  Anthony | 

    CSD

  20. #20 |  Anthony | 

    CSD,
    I think he said take “him over there with scrawny britches”; not “bitches”
    I think he is referring to single person not a group.
    This makes sense because he said “butt” instead of “ass” soon afterwards.

    Sorry for the one line post. When I pressed “Enter” on my keyboard my comment was submitted instead of going to the next line.

  21. #21 |  (B)oscoH | 

    Keith: Radley specializes in an area of journalism called “kicking his audience in the nuts day after day with stories of police abuse”. This often intersects with the plight of the middle class because victims dogs get shot. I can assure you that when SWAT teams are deployed to kick people out of houses that the banks take back, he’ll cover it, because that would fall right under his specialty. Just stick around another couple of years. When Fannie and Freddie start issuing grants to local LEOs to purchase tanks and Predator drones, you’ll know it’s imminent.

  22. #22 |  Pointing out the obvious | 

    Corey Maye was right to suspect people unlawfully busting down his door while shouting “POLICE!!” were not actual police.

    Similarly, police were right to suspect someone dressed no differently than the squatters shouting “PRESS!” was not actual press.

    If merely stating that you are a member of the press means that you cannot be arrested, we’re worse off than I thought.

    It’s TERRIBLE that the THP made up charges. That is unforgivable. What I don’t understand is the contention that “the press” should be treated any differently than the rest of us.

  23. #23 |  Raoul Duke | 

    It looked to me like the Troopers came right to the reporter, passing by several others who were standing there waiting to be arrested. It seems that the Troopers had warned the people to leave, they decided to stay and be arrested (like the soldiers at Valley Forge), and then the Troopers announced that the “time was up” and moved in to make arrests. The others in the video stood still but the reporter was trying to walk away. The reporter knew what was up but he decided to try and get out of it, even though he had already been warned to leave, probably numerous times. Maybe they gave him a break and reduced his charge from “resisting arrest” to “public intoxication” after they realized he was drunk more than anything else.

  24. #24 |  LivingPre911Still | 

    Raoul Duke… You certainly are reading into it like knowing exactly what happened without being there to witness… We must be related… my Brothers are exacty the same way… convinced they know by total assumption… “Drunk more than anything else”. Yep… that explains it all…

  25. #25 |  Nashville Journalist Arrested, Video Indicates Cops Lied About His Charge (More info) « When Tennessee Pigs Fly | 

    [...] http://www.theagitator.com/2011/10/31/nashville-journalist-arrested-video-indicates-cops-lied-about-… LD_AddCustomAttr("AdOpt", "1"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Origin", "other"); LD_AddCustomAttr("theme_bg", "000000"); LD_AddCustomAttr("theme_border", "959596"); LD_AddCustomAttr("theme_text", "B0B0B0"); LD_AddCustomAttr("theme_link", "FD5A1E"); LD_AddCustomAttr("theme_url", "E4D3A6"); LD_AddCustomAttr("LangId", "1"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Autotag", "politics"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Autotag", "religion"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Autotag", "entertainment"); LD_AddSlot("wpcom_below_post"); LD_GetBids(); Rate this: Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  26. #26 |  kodiac1221 | 

    Usually cops just step on the phone or camera…

  27. #27 |  Raoul Duke | 

    LivingPre, would I be correct in assuming that these are your older brothers? I’m fucking Harry Houdini!

  28. #28 |  Rick H. | 

    Re: #26
    Necrophilia’s a crime, and you should try not to derail the topic by boasting about your sexual conquests anyway.

  29. #29 |  Le Cagot | 

    Oh, please. Necrophilia’s not a *crime*. Just because someone’s dead don’t mean they can’t parTAY once in awhile.

  30. #30 |  Dana Gower | 

    #22 — What I don’t understand is the contention that “the press” should be treated any differently than the rest of us.

    In some places, police issue press credentials to crime scenes after checking the reporter out. Others who don’t have credentials are treated like everyone else. There is both a positive and negative side to this, with many members of the press choosing to forego special credentialing.
    Basically, members of the media have no special rights (other than certain “shield” laws) that aren’t granted to everyone by the First Amendment, which is as it should be. In the old days, members of the press usually were treated a little better by police because the police realized newspapers (and other media) had a better platform to embarrass them. Those days are gone.

  31. #31 |  Raoul Duke | 

    Don’t knock it until you try it.

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