A reporter was arrested on Tuesday for willful disruption of governmental processes at the West Virginia State Capitol after persistently asking a question of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. The question was regarding a specific item being included in the House-passed healthcare bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
After posting bail, Dan Heyman, a reporter for Public News Service, held a press conference during which he said he asked Price repeatedly whether domestic violence is considered a preexisting condition under the new Republican healthcare bill.
Heyman said that he waited for Price to come into the building and then reached past the people accompanying Price with his phone and persistently asked his questions, also stating that many other reporters wanted more information regarding the issue of preexisting conditions.
According to Heyman, “the police decided I was just too persistent in asking this question and trying to do my job, and so they arrested me.”
BREAKING: Dan Heyman from @PNS_News has been arrested at the WV State Capitol by Capitol Police for trying to ask Secretary Price a question
— ACLU of WV (@ACLU_WV) May 9, 2017
Heyman could not recall how many times he addressed the question to Price, but contended that it is his job to do so. “First time I’ve ever been arrested for asking a question. First time I’ve ever heard of someone getting arrested for asking a question,” he said.
Heyman asserted that he posed his questions in a public space and was never warned that he might be arrested. “No police officer told me ‘you’re in the wrong place,’” he said, adding that the police “put hands on me, although they didn’t hurt me, certainly.”
Heyman said that informed the police that he was a member of the press, and asked them if he was under arrest, to which they responded “yes.”
“It’s dreadful. This is my job, this is what I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to find out if someone is going to be affected by this healthcare law…I think it is a question that deserves to be answered,” Heyman said.
Heyman was required to pay $5,000 bond, and faces the misdemeanor charge of willful disruption of governmental processes.
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