On Tuesday, May 10, 2016, reporter Dan Heyman went to the West Virginia Capitol to cover Secretary Tom Price’s visit to Charleston. Dan waited in the hallway to ask HHS Secretary Tom Price a question about the AHCA. A few minutes later, he was under arrest.
Welcome to the launch of Civil Fights, a new podcast from the ACLU of West Virginia where we try to break down legal and constitutional issues in a way that makes sense to everyone—not just constitutional scholars and federal judges.
In the inaugural episode of Civil Fights, we talked about what it means to have a free press, especially in the wake of a few disturbing incidents around the U.S. in recent times. Your hosts, Jamie Lynn Crofts and Noah Brozinsky, talked to ACLU-WV Policy Director Eli Baumwell, Newseum Vice President Gene Policinski, and reporter Dan Heyman, the Public News Service reporter who was arrested at the West Virginia Capitol for asking Health & Human Services Secretary Tom Price a question about whether victims of domestic violence would lose their health insurance under the AHCA.
If you enjoyed the episode and want to learn more about it/the people we talked to, check out the links and images below.
And please stay tuned for future episodes! Next week: an update on Trump’s Muslim Ban.
You can check out the viral video that Eli took of Dan Heyman’s press conference after he posted bail on the ACLU-WV’s facebook page.
Here’s a video of Jamie talking to the press about Dan’s arrest (and looking very, very pale).
If you want to re-listen to the incredibly disturbing audio of Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs getting attacked by Congressman-elect Gianforte, you can do that here.
And here’s a blog Jamie and Eli wrote about why Dan’s arrest is an unacceptable assault on the First Amendment.
Read the criminal complaint that was filed gainst Dan below.
West Virginia Code § 61-6-19, which Dan was charged with violating, reads:
- If any person willfully interrupts or molests the orderly and peaceful process of any department, division, agency or branch of state government or of its political subdivisions, he or she is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $100, or confined in jail not more than six months, or both fined and confined: Provided, That any assembly in a peaceable, lawful and orderly manner for a redress of grievances shall not be a violation of this section.
Any person who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $100 or confined in jail not more than six months, or both.
You can see a video of Dan being arrested here, taken by Valerie Woody, of West Virginia Citizen Action Group.
A huge thanks to everyone who made this possible, especially our audio editors and masterers Bryan Deziel and Pat Gilroy, and Pat Gilroy and Jeremy Galanes of Titans of Punk for the original music.