DES MOINES, Iowa — A judge has ruled that prosecutors must turn over body-camera footage and other material to a Des Moines Register reporter who was arrested while covering a protest in May.
Judge Christopher Kemp on Monday ordered the Polk County Attorney’s Office to give body-cam footage and reports to reporter Andrea Sahouri by the next court date, according to the Des Moines Register. The court date hasn’t been scheduled.
Sahouri, 24, was arrested May 31 while covering a protest near a Des Moines shopping mall, less than a week after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The Black man died after a white police officer used his knee to pin down Floyd’s neck, sparking protests across the country.
At the protest near the Merle Hay Mall, police began shooting pepper spray and ordering protesters to disperse after some people began damaging property and stealing from stores. Although Sahouri said she identified herself as a reporter, she and her boyfriend, Spenser Robnett, were charged with interference with official acts and failure to disperse. They have pleaded not guilty.
Robnett accompanied Sahouri to the protest because he was concerned for her safety.
Assistant Polk County Attorney Brad Kinkade had argued authorities didn’t need to give evidence to Sahouri and Robnett because they were charged with misdemeanors and such cases were supposed to be handled quickly, with little expense.
Although the judge said prosecutors must turn over evidence, he declined to dismiss the charges.
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