“Should being a victim of domestic violence count as a preexisting condition under the Republican health care bill to replace Obamacare?” a question that got Journalist Dan Heyman arrested when he directed it to Tom Price, Health and Human Services Secretary, and White House consultant, Kellyanne Conway on Tuesday.
Refusal To Respond
Price and Conway didn’t respond to Heyman’s question. However, the Public News Service reporter insisted on having an answer. Heyman then kept asking them again while he followed both officials to the hallway at the state capitol building in Charleston, West Virginia.
According to a complaint filed by the state, Heyman was charged with “willful disruption of state government processes,” before he got arrested. He may go to jail and pay a fine.
Allegedly, the complaint accused Heyman of “aggressively breaching the Secret Service agents to the point where the agents were forced to remove him a couple of times from the area walking up the hallway in the main building of the Capitol.” It also says that he “was causing a disturbance by yelling questions at Ms. Conway and Secretary Price.”
Commenting on the matter, Heyman said: “This is my job; this is what I’m supposed to do. I think it’s a question that deserves to be answered. I think it’s my job to ask questions, and I think it’s my job to try to get answers.”
As a journalist, Heyman was allowed to ask questions to Trump’s administration officials. He had his pass and was wearing a t-shirt with the logo of the Public News Service.
Criticizing the arrest of the journalist, the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia debated that the arrest and the charges are violating the First Amendment of protecting journalists and are “a blatant attempt to chill an independent, free press.”