Wednesday, May 10, 2017

West Virginia journalist arrested for persistently asking HHS secretary about Republican health bill

Dan Heyman mugshot
A West Virginia journalist was arrested Tuesday for asking Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price questions about the Republican health-care bill, Samantha Schmidt reports for The Washington Post. When Price was walking through the state Capitol, reporter Dan Heyman of Public News Service followed alongside him and "repeatedly asked the secretary whether domestic violence would be considered a pre-existing condition under the Republican bill to overhaul the nation’s health care system."

Heyman told reporters, “He didn’t say anything. So I persisted.” Schmidt writes, "Then, an officer in the capitol pulled him aside, handcuffed him and arrested him. Heyman was jailed on the charge of willful disruption of state government processes and was released later on $5,000 bail. Authorities said while Secret Service agents were providing security in the capitol for Price and Kellyanne Conway, special counsel to President Trump, Heyman was 'aggressively breaching' the agents to the point where they were 'forced to remove him a couple of times from the area,' according to a criminal complaint," which authorities said, “was causing a disturbance by yelling questions at Conway and Secretary Price."

Heyman told reporters, “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.” Lark Corbeil, chief executive and founder of Public News Service, defended Heyman, telling the Post, “From what we can understand, he did nothing out of the ordinary. He was doing what any journalist would normally do, calling out a question and trying to get an answer.” For more on PNS, go here.

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