A group of Chicago journalists attempting to cover the fatal shooting of a 6-year-old girl over the weekend were cursed at and handcuffed by Chicago police officers at a South Side hospital.
NBC Chicago photographer Donte Williams and WGN reporter Dan Ponce were detained by police while standing on a sidewalk outside Mt. Sinai Hospital Saturday, NBC Chicago reports. The reporters headed to the hospital following the shooting of 6-year-old Aliyah Shell.
Aliyah, who was playing outside when two teens reportedly opened fire, was pronounced dead at the hospital at 5:24 p.m.
Officers told WGN they were called to the scene by hospital security guards who reported trespassers in the area. News crews were asked for move from a sidewalk in front of a hospital, but they apparently weren't allowed to stand in a median either.
"Your First Amendment rights can be terminated if you're creating a scene or whatever," one officer told the reporters. (Watch the exchange above)
Officers then handcuffed Ponce and Williams.
Chicago police later released a statement about the incident, according to WGN:
“The Chicago Police Department did not charge anyone with criminal trespass in connection with today's incident, which involved the unfortunate and senseless loss of a young child. We removed two individuals from the hospital at the request of hospital security guards, who asserted that the individuals had tried to go past them into secure and private areas of the hospital. The security guards declined to press charges and the individuals were released."
"What upset me about last night was this was not an active crime scene," Ponce told WLS Radio following the confrontation. "This is in front of a hospital. The reporters and photographers were standing on the median sidewalk when the officer started yelling at us, telling us to get further away. We decided to take a stand."