Chicago police hauled WGN reporter Dan Ponce and WMAQ photographer Donte Williams into custody on Saturday, reports WMAQ, saying that the two were “creating a scene” outside of Mt. Sinai Hospital.
Photographer Donte Williams and WGN Reporter Dan Ponce were detained as they attempted to cover the story of a 6-year-old girl who was shot and killed. Crews were standing on a sidewalk outside Mt. Sinai Hospital, where the girl had been taken.
The hospital apparently called police, complaining of trespassers. The news crews, at the request of police officers, said they had already moved from a public sidewalk directly in front of the hospital, to a median halfway across the street.
But police disputed that, saying hospital security guards told them news crews had tried to get past them into a secure area of the hospital. Reporters say they did not go into the hospital.
The Chicago PD issued the following statement:
“The Chicago Police Department did not charge anyone with criminal trespass in connection with yesterday’s incident, which involved the unfortunate and senseless loss of a young child. We removed two individuals from the hospital at the request of hospital security guards, who asserted that the individuals had tried to go past them into secure and private areas of the hospital. The security guards declined to press charges and the individuals were released.
Our members were attempting to protect and respect both the grieving family members of the child, and the memory of the child herself during a very stressful time for all parties involved.
As always, we will carefully review the allegations in the event further action is warranted.”