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OpEdNews Reporter Arrested While Photographing Protest

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On Saturday, OpEdNews.com reporter Cheryl Biren was arrested along with six protesters by Philadelphia police while taking photos of arrests of protesters against the Army Experience Center (AEC.) She was rough-handled by an arresting officer, held in two different jails for a total of 14 hours, being released onto the mean streets of Philly, locked out of the "roundhouse" police station, in the dark, at 5 AM without even the opportunity to first turn on her cell phone to call for a ride home.

Cheryl Biren observed, "after having been released into the streets of philly, doors locked behind us, in the pitch black without being allowed to turn on our phones while inside to secure our rides. such chivalry."


Biren was with five other women, including Debra Sweet, head of worldcantwait.com, and Elaine Brower of Military Families Speak Out when put outside the jail. (Bowers is also an editor of OpEdNews.com.)

All six were charged with "criminal conspiracy" and "failure to disperse."


Here's what I witnessed:
The police were arresting six demonstrators. The demonstrators were peaceful and cooperating with the police. OpEdNews.com managing editor was on the scene, covering the event as a photographer. She had not carried signs, had not shouted with the protesters. She was there strictly as a journalist-- as the many police videos and photos will prove.

She was at the front of a group of other onlookers who were watching the police arrest the demonstrators who had separated themselves from the crowd. All of a sudden, one plain clothes police officer rushed forward and roughly grabbed Biren, as she was photographing the arrests, pulling her from the crowd and forced her to the area where the protesters being arrested were standing. She protested that she was a reporter, a member of the press. I, as publisher of OpEdNews, reinforced her claim immediately, to no avail. She was put into temporary plastic handcuffs which were made so tight her wrist was injured. A number of observers and legal consultants agreed that her use of a professional camera, taking photos of the arrest was probably a factor in her arrest. Biren thought fast and before the cuffs were placed on her she removed the chip storing the images from her camera and hid it in her bag so she still had the photos. They can be seen here



Photo taken by journalist Cheryl Biren moments
before being arrested

Ironically, as a statement of solidarity with journalists such as Amy Goodman arrested at the GOP convention, Biren co-authored, with a former Opednews.com editor, this article, on Sept. 3, 2008, OEN Condemns Police Action at the DNC and RNC, stating, " A free press where reporters can engage in their journalistic duties without threat of arrest must be respected. Take action."



OpEdNews managing editor, Cheryl Biren, on the scene in lower left, taking photos, of Elaine Bowers being arrested. Biren can clearly be seen as part of a crowd of onlookers, not in the space police were clearing where arrests were taking place. No other onlookers were arrested,

That started a 14 hour journey in a prisoner bus, to two jails. During that time police lied to her and me about how long she would be in custody. Apparently, this is a common practice by the police, telling prisoners that they will be held a much longer time than actually happens.


Ultimately, the six women of the seven arrested were separated from the one man and taken to the main holding prison for Philadelphia and they were released at about 5:00 AM the next day-- fourteen hours later. The male, seventh protester, who was not transferred to the center city Philly jail was released at 9:00 AM.

The good news is that the Army Experience Center closed for the day, on a Saturday at the Franklin Mills Mall. That made the protest a success. Local readers may want to consider boycotting the mall. The police used trespassing as their reason to arrest, when they announced that protesters must leave. Apparently, they changed the charges later.

The arraignment date for the Biren and the 5 protesters is Sept. 23 at 1301 Filbert St. at 11:30 AM. Map: http://bit.ly/Arraignment

The story has received wide play in progressive venues, but could be covered a lot more.

By Linda Milazzo
OpedNews Journalist and Six Protesters Charged With Criminal Conspiracy After Arrest At "Army Experience Center"


The press should not be treated this way. Please do what you can to get this story out.

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Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and website architect of OpEdNews.com, Host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show (WNJC 1360 AM), and publisher of Storycon.org, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor . He is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

Listen to over 200 of Rob's Podcast interviews here.

Rob is, with Opednews.com the first media winner of the Pillar Award for supporting Whistleblowers and the first amendment.


With his experience as architect and founder of a technorati top 100 blog, he is also a new media / social media consultant and trainer for corporations, non-profits, entrepreneurs and authors.

Rob is a frequent Speaker on the bottom-up revolution, politics, The art, science and power of story, heroes and the hero's journey and Positive Psychology. He is a campaign consultant specializing in tapping the power of stories for issue positioning, stump speeches and debates, and optimizing tapping the power of new media. Watch me speaking on Bottom up economics at the Occupy G8 Economic Summit, here.

See more Rob Kall articles here and, older ones, here.

To learn more about Rob and OpEdNews.com, check out A Voice For Truth - ROB KALL | OM Times Magazine and this article. For Rob's work in non-political realms mostly before 2000, see his C.V..

And here's a one hour radio interview where I was a guest- on Envision This, on 10/23/13. And here is the transcript. 

And Rob's quotes are here.

To watch me on youtube, having a lively conversation with John Conyers, former Chair of the House Judiciary committee, click here Now, wouldn't you like to see me on the political news shows, representing progressives. If so, tell your favorite shows to bring me on and refer them to this youtube video.

Rob's radio show, The Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, runs 9-10 PM EST Wednesday evenings, on AM 1360, WNJC and is archived at www.opednews.com/podcasts Or listen to it streaming, live at www.wnjc1360.com

Rob also hosted a health/mind/body/heart/spirit radio show-- the Rob Kall Futurehealth radio show. Check out podcasts from it at futurehealth.org/podcasts

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you advocate strongly for a particular position, a... by sommers on Monday, Sep 14, 2009 at 10:20:47 PM
They don't go after big media because they have th... by Gallaher on Monday, Sep 14, 2009 at 10:29:01 PM
I know it is called a "1983 action" that can be fi... by Gallaher on Monday, Sep 14, 2009 at 10:31:02 PM
Sounds like a false arrest and wrongful imprission... by Sleeper on Tuesday, Sep 15, 2009 at 1:40:59 AM
I didn't realize that taking pictures as a member ... by Archie on Monday, Sep 14, 2009 at 11:21:31 PM
If she'd been carrying a gun instead of a camera, ... by wagelaborer on Tuesday, Sep 15, 2009 at 1:17:36 AM
Buy and always have with you a pocket video camera... by plausible deniability on Wednesday, Sep 16, 2009 at 9:09:02 AM