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Truthdig’s Michael Nigro Talks About Being Arrested While Doing His Work

Poor People's Campaign protesters outside the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City. (Michael Nigro / Truthdig)

Truthdig photojournalist Michael Nigro was arrested last week in Jefferson City, Mo., while covering the Poor People’s Campaign, a 40-day event to raise awareness of economic injustice in America and to demand solutions. Nigro was officially charged for failure to obey orders, but, as he said in a podcast with Connect the Dots following his release, he believes that what he really was charged with was practicing journalism.

Just before his arrest, Nigro was reporting on more than 400 participants from across Missouri who were marching toward the Missouri Capitol and the Chamber of Commerce headquarters. A group of activists was sitting in the middle of the street and blocking traffic, a protest that Nigro attempted to document from the curb. As he reports in his June 11 live blog, police gave him three warnings to move off the sidewalk but did not tell him to stop filming. “I believe,” he said, “that they were intentionally preventing me from reporting and by arresting me were purposefully intimidating others from continuing to film.”

Nigro was arrested at 10:52 a.m. by police officers who also confiscated his equipment. His bail was set at $500, and he was released at 1:31 p.m.

The theme of the Poor People’s Campaign the week Nigro was arrested was “Everybody’s Got the Right to Live: Education, Living Wages, Jobs, Income, Housing.” A few days after his arrest, Nigro joined Alison Rose Levy of Connect the Dots to discuss the importance of that theme, his experience of being arrested while doing his job, and the broader attempts to restrict the freedom of the press in America. Listen to the episode below.

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