Journalists had a series of tense clashes with police officers as they moved in on the suspect in the Boston bombing case. Police repeatedly told reporters that they risked jeopardizing the search for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old who is being sought by authorities. As law enforcement surrounded a house in Cambridge, MA, the tensions mounted even more.
CNN and “Today” put their feeds on a delay as the siege continued. CNN’s Jake Tapper said the network did not want to show anything that was “overly violent” or would compromise security.
Local New York station WPIX got into far more trouble with police. James Ford, a reporter with the station, was filming officers when one of them told him to get back.
“Is it worth your life?” he asked.
“I’m tethered to this cable,” Ford said. “What’s more important, saving the cable or saving your life?” the officer asked. After some confusing minutes, viewers saw officers walking away, guns at their sides.
“I’ve been removed from crime scenes but never by officers with their guns drawn on me,” Ford said.
NBC’s Kerry Sanders also told “Today” that an officer had pointed a gun at him when he talked to a woman who was near the scene of the shootout in Watertown.
ABC producer Megan Chuchmach also had a run-in with police.
“I was walking with my camera trying to get a better sense of where the SWAT teams were all congregating when all of a sudden, three officers swarmed with their guns drawn, forced me to the ground, and told me that they were suspicious of my backpack and thought I might be the suspect,” she said.
Eventually, the Boston police department put out the following tweet:
#MediaAlert: WARNING: Do Not Compromise Officer Safety by Broadcasting Tactical Positions of Homes Being Searched.
Some hours later, Watertown was suddenly awash with police, and reporters were again caught in the middle:
Kerry Sanders is being filmed talking on his cell phone and crouched down. Cops told him to get on the ground. pic.twitter.com/nyZ858Ve7T
Lots of activity just now in Watertown on Arsenal St, police yelling at press to stay back. Some officers have weapons drawn
NBC reporter: “[police] just told us if I knew what was going on, I wouldn’t be standing here right now.”
CNN correspondent says she was told to move by cop saying “you’re in the line of fire, you’re in the line of fire.”
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