So he persisted

Meanwhile, in Trump’s US, reporters are not allowed to ask administration officials questions if the officials don’t feel like being asked questions. By “not allowed” I mean they get arrested and charged with a crime if they do.

A veteran West Virginia reporter has been arrested and charged with “disruption of government services” in the state capitol for “yelling questions” at visiting Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price and White House senior advisor Kellyanne Conway.

Daniel Ralph Heyman, 54, with the Public News Service of West Virginia, was freed on $5,000 bond Tuesday night on a charge of “willful disruption of government processes,” according to a criminal complaint.

“The above defendant was aggressively breaching the secret service agents to the point where the agents were forced to remove him a couple of times from the area walking up the hallway in the main building of the Capitol,” the complaint states. It adds Heyman caused a disturbance by “yelling questions at Ms. Conway and Secretary Price.”

The misdemeanor carries a possible fine of $100 and up to six months in jail.

Heyman later told reporters he was “trying to do my job” by pressing the secretary on whether domestic violence would be considered a pre-existing condition under the proposed American Health Care Act.

This isn’t obnoxious fans pestering a rock star. It’s journalists asking government officials questions. We need them to do that, especially with this administration. Trump and his gang are secretive and they tell lies. We need reporters to press them.

Heyman, a veteran reporter who covers health issues for Public News Service, said he was holding his phone out to record the impromptu hallway interview but Price repeatedly refused to respond. “He didn’t say anything,” Heyman told reporters. “So I persisted.”

Elizabeth Warren joke there.

The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia called the charges “outrageous” and said the arrest was “a blatant attempt to chill an independent, free press.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia posted a statement on Facebook:

This a dangerous time in our country. Freedom of the press is being eroded every day. We have a President who calls the media “fake news” and resists transparency at every turn. And today, a reporter was arrested for trying to ask a question to members of President Trump’s administration. Mr. Heyman’s arrest is a blatant attempt to chill an independent, free press. The charges against him are outrageous, and they must be dropped immediately.

By asking Tom Price and Kellyanne Conway whether domestic violence was considered a preexisting condition under President Trump’s healthcare proposal, Dan Heyman was doing his job as a reporter. He was fulfilling that sacred role of the media in a democratic state of holding our elected officials accountable regarding the vital issues of the day. And for that, he was arrested.

What President Trump’s administration is forgetting, and what the Capitol Police forgot today, is that the government works for us. Today was a dark day for democracy. But the rule of law will prevail. The First Amendment will prevail. The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia stands ready to fight any attempt by the government to infringe upon our First Amendment rights.

We are allowed to ask them questions.

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