Amid mounting criticism from press freedom advocates, the Phoenix Police Department said Friday it is investigating the handcuffing and detention of a Wall Street Journal reporter while he was interviewing people outside a bank .

The department confirmed it was taking action on the matter after Matt Murray, editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal, wrote a letter to Phoenix police expressing concern about the incident.

“This letter was shared with our Bureau of Professional Standards for review, and they are conducting an administrative investigation,” Sergeant Robert Shire said in a statement. “After the administrative investigation is complete, it will be made available as part of a public records request.”

The incident in question involved Journal reporter Dion Rabouin, who covers the markets for the paper. Although his encounter with police happened in November, it attracted attention this week for the first time since Arizona ABC 15 Reported this and talked to Rabouin. According to his account, he was in Phoenix visiting family on Thanksgiving. He decided to interview people outside a Chase Bank branch for a story he was working on about savings accounts. At one point, he said, employees came out to ask him what he was doing but never asked him to leave. Then, law enforcement showed up.

“I saw a police car pulling up. And the officer came out, walked into the branch, came out after about five minutes, and talked to me,” Raboin told ABC15. “He asked me what I was doing. I recognized myself. I said, ‘I’m Dion Rabouin. I’m a reporter for The Wall Street Journal. I am working on a story. I told the branch people what was going on. And they said, ‘Well, you can’t do that.'”

Rabouin told the officer that he would leave if he was not on public property, but the officer “moved his body to prevent me from moving or going anywhere.” Then, after some more back-and-forth, the officer began “grabbing my arms,” ​​he said. “And I kind of panicked and backed away. And he was like, ‘It could be bad for you if you don’t comply and don’t do what I say.’ So he grabs my arms and actually twists them behind my back and proceeds to handcuff me.”

A bystander begins filming the point in which the officer – identified in the police report as Officer Caleb Zimmerman – escorts Rabouin to his police vehicle. Rabouin told the officer he didn’t want to go in, later telling ABC 15 he was worried about what might happen if bystanders couldn’t record him. Then, several other officers arrived, and Zimmerman untied Raboin’s handcuffs.

Phoenix police said Friday that the officer contacted Rabouin after he contacted the bank.

“Bank personnel contacted police after customer complaints that a man was asking people personal questions as they entered the bank,” Sharer said. “The conversation between the officer and the person subject of the complaint took place on private property.”

Rabouin says he didn’t know the sidewalk in front of Chase Branch was designated as private property. Zimmerman wrote in his police report that Rabouin was trespassing.

Murray, the Journal’s top editor, wrote in his letter to the police that he was “appalled and concerned that officials of your department would attempt to interfere with Mr. intended to limit.

The officer’s interaction with Rabouin, who is black, has brought renewed focus to how law enforcement treats the black community. Phoenix is ​​no exception to the national issues with racism in policing.

In 2021, Justice Department announces civil rights Investigation to the department for several alleged misdeeds including potentially discriminatory policing against minorities. Phoenix police body camera footage has caught officers saying they were wanted “Stomp” on and “Gas” Black Lives Matter protesters in 2021. And in 2020, the city agreed to pay $10 million to a black couple after officials pointed guns at them in front of her children, one of whom had taken a doll from a store without her knowing.



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