CINCINNATI, Ohio - A University of Cincinnati student is thankful to be back home after being arrested while covering the unrest in Ferguson.
The Cincinnati Herald said one of its freelancers, Coulter Loeb, was arrested at Wednesday at 12:30 a.m. CST and released at 6 a.m. He arrived back in Cincinnati by Greyhound just before 4 a.m. Friday.
Loeb is a senior at UC and works as a photojournalist.
He said that he was standing at a police line when an officer started shoving him and he was loaded into a police van. Loeb said he was held for six hours but released without being charged.
Loeb says he knew going to Ferguson was a gamble but when he saw that the curfew was not working he knew he wanted to see what was happening.
"We were watching how the situation developed and the curfew was the deciding factor. I was too young to experience the Cincinnati riots when they passed through, but I knew that something different was going on there and I wanted to figure out what it was,” Loeb said.
He believes passionate protestors, combined with a large media presence escalated the situation's intensity.
"I would say it intimidated the officers having 200 camera lenses pointed at them and their friends when they're in a situation that they weren't anticipating," Loeb said.
He knew being part of the crowd in Ferguson comes with a gamble.
"It's a risk that I knowingly take," Loeb said. "I didn't plan on getting arrested, but I know that walking next to police while they're handling the crowd... and I'm part of that crowd... I might be arrested."
He was also arrested in Sept. 2011 while photographing a police officer in Philadelphia. Loeb was charged with disorderly conduct but those charges were later dropped.
Correction and update on UC student/photojournalist arrested in Ferguson today: Coulter Loeb. He called. He has been released.— TheCincinnatiHerald (@CinciHerald) August 20, 2014
UC President Santa J. Ono released a statement about the arrest saying:
@wcpojesse I have his well-being foremost in my thoughts and prayers and look forward to his safe return to UC and Cincinnati.— Santa J. Ono (@PrezOno) August 21, 2014
Our nation's press must be permitted to perform their important work without fear of retribution. Freedom of the press is essential for a— Santa J. Ono (@PrezOno) August 21, 2014
@wcpojesse ...just society.— Santa J. Ono (@PrezOno) August 21, 2014
According to the Associated Press, reporters for CNN, Al Jazeera America and other outlets say they have been harassed or physically threatened. Police officials have said that the media has been repeatedly ordered to return to the sidewalks near the protests “because of safety concerns.”
The AP quoted President Barack Obama as saying last week that police "should not be bullying or arresting" reporters for merely doing their jobs.
Last Friday, 48 American media organizations, including The Associated Press, sent a letter to law enforcement officials in Ferguson, criticizing the treatment of reporters.