JMU paper raided, photos seized
Harrisonburg Commonwealth's Attorney Marsha Garst, bolstered by a search warrant and at least six or seven cops, shows up April 16 at the James Madison University student newspaper, the Breeze, and demands all photos taken of the Springfest riot the previous weekend. Garst threatens to seize all computers, which would essentially shut down the paper, if the photos weren't turned over, the Breeze reports.
Breeze editor-in-chief Katie Thisdell complied, but says she believes the warrant violates the federal Privacy Protection Act that prohibits law enforcement from seizing news reporting materials for criminal investigations.
The Student Press Law Center is representing the Breeze and its lawyers reached an agreement with the prosecutor to temporarily seal the 926 confiscated photos.
UPDATE 2:30pm: The Society of Professional Journalists condemns the raid and sends a letter to Garst expressing the organization's outrage and demanding the return of all materials taken.
UPDATE 1:45PM April 20: Spelling of Katie Thisdell's name corrected.