Bodycam footage showing April Ehrlich’s 2020 arrest is emerging online as a journalist is suing Medford and Jackson County officials

The city of Medford, the Medford Police Department and Jackson County are the targets of a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Oregon Public Broadcasting journalist April Ehrlich. She reportedly claimed that her arrest on September 22, 2020 in a city park prevented her from doing her job as a reporter covering a police raid on a homeless camp.

In addition, Ehrlich claimed that the authorities violated her civil rights by interfering with her journalism and illegally inspecting her belongings.

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journalist April Ehrlich files a civil rights lawsuit after being arrested while reporting

According to the lawsuit, April Ehrlich strolled through Hawthorne Park in Medford while reporting on the camp’s eviction. She is said to have held her audio recording device in her hand on September 22, 2020 and showed her press card as proof.

In video released by the Medford Police Department, Ehrlich identified herself as a reporter and said she was in a public park when officers approached her and asked her to leave. Honestly said:

“I’m a reporter! I’m a reporter! I’m just doing my job.”

Weekend News Editor for Oregon Public Broadcasting, @AprilHonest, is suing the city of Medford, Medford and Jackson County police after she refused to comply with police orders and was arrested for trespassing. Watch the video:

April Ehrlich reportedly defied police orders to remain in a media staging area while documenting evictions in Hawthorne Park for NPR affiliate Jefferson Public Radio.

Shortly thereafter, she was committed and taken into custody by Medford and Jackson County officers. She was charged with second-degree trespassing and resisting arrest. The city of Medford later dismissed the charges.

In a statement following her arrest, Jefferson Public Radio explained that the location of the performance was in an area that made it impossible to “effectively see or hear interactions between police officers and campers, or collect audio.”

According to sources, Ehrlich’s civil rights lawsuit was filed after all criminal charges were dropped. The Portland law firm of Kafoury and McDougal is representing her case.

April Ehrlich said in a statement:

“Sending a police force to sweep a homeless encampment in a public park and not allowing media access was wrong. From the start I felt unfairly treated… I want to be very clear that this shouldn’t happen. I hope officials in Oregon and in Medford and elsewhere will take note of this case and provide appropriate access to reporters covering government actions in a public park.”

On September 22, 2020, Hawthorne Park was declared closed by Medford Police and Jackson County Probation Officers, but campers, volunteers and other visitors were allowed to remain. In addition, authorities said that people in the park are allowed to get possessions or provide assistance, but are not allowed to photograph what is going on.

Edited by Siddharth Satish

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