Police, don’t attack journalists

To the editor:

The New York State Associated Press Association stands united with our journalism colleagues across the country in denouncing attacks on the news media.

We have watched, astounded, as our colleagues have been shoved, arrested and generally attacked by law enforcement.

Journalists are accustomed to navigating tense situations. We do not understand nor accept these attacks.

Disdain from the highest reaches of our government do not change that freedom of the press is “one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty,” as noted in the 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights and repeated many times since. Endemic to a free society is a news media that can report and publish news and opinion without censorship by its government. That includes law enforcement.

We respect New York state’s law enforcement. We expect and demand the same in return. We do not condone brutality from even the so-called “few bad apples.” New York’s news media suits up with all the other first responders, donning their protective face coverings in addition to their traditional gear, to cover these protests.

We are outraged by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police offer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Covering the wake of Floyd’s death is the role of our colleagues in the field, not participating in the protests. In this, we are the observers to this first draft of history. Please help us do that safely.

The New York state AP board:

Tena Tyler, president

Randy Gorbman, vice president

Peter Crowley, vice president

Paul Memoli

Jeremy Boyer

Claire Regan

Scott Atkinson

Ron Lombard

Steve McMurray

George Bodarky

Steve Norris

Ken Tingley

Sara Kugel

Tim Scheld