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Saturday 22 June, 2024
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April Ehrlich’s bodycam arrest video surface online

BY Anas Shah Sep 30, 2022. 11:07 am

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Oregon Public Broadcasting journalist April Ehrlich has filed a federal civil rights complaint against the city of Medford, the Medford police, and Jackson County. She asserted that being detained on September 22, 2020, at a local park stopped her from performing her duties as a reporter covering a police raid on a homeless camp.

Ehrlich also claimed that the government had violated her civil rights by interfering with her journalism and trespassing on her property.

According to the lawsuit, April Ehrlich was exploring Medford’s Hawthorne Park as she covered the camp removal. On September 22, 2020, she allegedly held her audio recording equipment and displayed her press credentials as evidence.

Ehrlich identified herself as a reporter and stated that she was at a public park when police approached her and asked her to leave in a video that the Medford Police Department released. Ehrlich remarked:

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

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While filming evictions at Hawthorne Park for NPR affiliate Jefferson Public Radio, April Ehrlich reportedly disobeyed police orders to stand in a media staging area.

She was detailed and brought into jail by Medford and Jackson County officers shortly after that. Second-degree trespassing and resisting arrest were the charges brought against her. Later, the accusations were dropped by the City of Medford.

Following her arrest, Jefferson Public Radio released a statement claiming that the staging area was in a place where it was “essentially impossible to observe or hear interactions between police officers and campers, or gather audio.”

According to sources, Ehrlich filed the civil rights case after all of the criminal charges were dropped. She is represented by the Portland law firm Kafoury and McDougal.

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April Ehrlich said in a statement:

“To send a crew of police to sweep a homeless encampment in a public park and not allow media access was wrong. From early on, I felt wronged… I want to make it perfectly clear this should not happen. I hope that officers in Oregon and in Medford and elsewhere take notice of this case and provide reasonable access to reporters covering government actions in a public park.”

Hawthorne Park was shut down by Medford Police and Jackson County probation officers on September 22, 2020, although campers, volunteers, and other visitors were allowed to stay. Authorities further claimed that although people were permitted in the park to retrieve items or offer assistance, they were not permitted to take pictures of what was happening.

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