Dion Rabouin, a finance reporter for the Wall Street Journal, was arrested outside a Chase Bank while conducting interviews for work. He was visiting family in Arizona for the holidays when he decided to do some work on a new story. According to ABC affiliate KNXV, the incident occurred this past November while Rabouin attempted to interview a person walking past the bank.
Individuals working inside the bank came outside to question Dion about what he was doing to which he responding and explained the purpose of his interview. Although he was never asked to leave, a police officer from the Phoenix Police Department arrived soon after. Rabouin stated that he offered to stop interviewing if necessary.
In a recording of the incident that has now gone viral, a bystander captures the officer handcuffing him, putting him in the and threatening to shove him if he failed to comply.
Rabouin's employer, The Wall Street Journal, has expressed concerns over the violation of Rabouin's first amendment rights to "freedom of speech, the press, assembly, and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Wall Street Journal's editor-in-chief Matt Murray wrote a letter to to Phoenix Police Chief Michael Sullivan which stated:
"I am writing to express my deep concern over the conduct of members of the Phoenix Police Department last month with Dion Rabouin, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal who was engaging in his First Amendment-protected right to gather news. Mr. Rabouin, being an American citizen, had a clear right to be present on the sidewalk and engaged in newsgathering," said the letter. It continued, "Naturally, I am relieved that Mr. Rabouin’s interaction with Phoenix police officers ended peacefully. But I am appalled and concerned that officers at your department would attempt to interfere with Mr. Rabouin’s constitutional right to engage in journalism and purport to limit anyone's presence in a public location. Such conduct is offensive to civil liberties, and also a pretty good news story."
Murray shared that Dion Rabouin in conjunction with the Wall Street Journal to determine what further actions they will take.
An administrative investigation regarding the detainment has been launched for the Phoenix Police Department.nThe Phoenix Police Department issued a full statement about the matter:
“The Phoenix Police Department received a letter from the Editor in Chief of the Wall Street Journal expressing concerns about an interaction with one of their reporters and a Phoenix police officer. This letter was shared with our Professional Standard Bureau for review and they are conducting an administrative investigation. Once the administrative investigation is complete, it will be made available as part of a public records request. Bank personnel contacted police after they received customer complaints that a man was approaching people as they entered the bank asking them personal questions. The interaction between the officer and the man who was the subject of the complaint took place on private property.”
Dion tweeted out his gratitude for the support:
I don't have much more to say about the situation with Phoenix PD. Just about all of the details can be found in Dave's report here. Thanks to everyone who has reached out to offer support. We're hoping to hear back from the chief or someone at the department soon. https://t.co/KEce6YPLW4— Dion Rabouin 🇺🇸 (@DionRabouin) January 5, 2023