Pasadena City College Superintendent/President Dr. Erika Endrijonas took a stand days after L.A. County sheriff’s deputies arrested a reporter at a hospital shortly after two deputies were ambushed in a shooting.
“This violence against our community is shocking to everyone at the Pasadena Area Community College District on at least two different levels. First, in our capacity as the Federal Communications Commission licensee for KPCC-FM, we are angered that one of our partner reporters was treated with such disregard by law enforcement,” Endrijonas said.
“More fundamentally, the right of a free press to collect and disseminate information for the public is a core belief of our American identity. The students, faculty, and staff at Pasadena City College strive to honor the ideals set forth in the Constitution,” she said.
“We condemn all actions that run contrary to those freedoms, and stand strong with journalists and all others who inform our community.”
Deputies arrested KPCC reporter Josie Huang on Sunday outside St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood where the wounded deputies were being treated.
According to the Sheriff’s Department, Huang ran toward a group of deputies as they were struggling with an uncooperative protester they were trying to arrest. The LASD also claims that Huang “ignored repeated commands to stay back, did not have proper credentials, and did not identify herself as a member of the press.
Footage of the event clearly shows Huang’s credentials were visible, and she can be heard shouting that she is a reporter.
She was arrested on suspicion of interfering with a lawful arrest. She was held for several hours and eventually released.
“We hope Josie is not seriously harmed from the encounter and will recover completely to continue her important work. We applaud L.A. County Inspector General Max Huntsman for swiftly initiating an investigation and call on his office to complete a thorough and fearless review of the sheriff’s actions in this case,” Endrijonas said.
On Sunday, Huang tweeted, “I was filming an arrest when suddenly deputies shout ‘back up. Within seconds, I was getting shoved around. There was nowhere to back up … You see my phone clatter to the ground and I start shouting ‘I’m a reporter … I’m with KPCC.’ I scream for help from the TV reporters I know are around the corner doing their 11 p.m. live hits. You can watch the videos here.”
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who represents Lynwood, called for an investigation and called on the Citizens Oversight Commission to convene a special meeting.
Villanueva called for people to trust the system and called out athletes and politicians.
But Villanueva himself has come under fire by systems set in place to provide accountability to his department. Earlier this year, he ignored a lawful subpoena by the Civilian Oversight Commission after he attempted to close the Altadena substation.
Shortly after he was elected, he rehired a deputy who worked on his campaign and was previously fired for domestic violence and making false statements.
After the county Board of Supervisors asked county counsel to review the reinstatement of Caren Carl Mandoyan, county counsel determined the action was illegal. Villanueva refused to heed the county order. A judge later ruled against the sheriff.