Gibbons to SouthComm: Don't Hold Your Breath

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The unedited video of Meador's arrest, above. "Probable cause"? "Understandably concluded he was intoxicated"? "Unfortunately, but also somewhat understandably, they did not ask Mr. Meador to produce his press credentials"?


The previous Pith post shows the Society of Professional Journalists' letter to Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons, asking that all charges against Scene reporter Jonathan Meador, who was arrested while covering the Occupy Nashville protests on Legislative Plaza, be dropped.

Below, Gibbons' response to a request by SouthComm CEO Chris Ferrell for a public apology:

Chris,

As I mentioned to you, you will be getting a formal response from me later this week regarding Jonathan Meador being taken into custody and charged.

As I noted in our conversation, based on our review of the video available to us and interviews with the troopers, we believe the troopers acted reasonably and in good faith and had probable cause to charge Mr. Meador. As I mentioned to you, video shows that, as other reporters were moving away from the protesters, Mr. Meador placed himself in the middle of them. To our knowledge, he had no visible media credentials. Regarding the public intoxication charge, based upon the smell of alcohol and their interaction with him, troopers understandably concluded that he was intoxicated.

Given the circumstances, the troopers did not take Mr. Meador's claim to be a member of the media seriously. Unfortunately, but also somewhat understandably, they did not ask Mr. Meador to produce his press credentials.

Obviously, it was not our intention to take any member of the press doing his or her job into custody for trespassing. I regret any confusion regarding Mr. Meador's role.

Bill Gibbons

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