Among the 18 people arrested early Saturday at a standoff between protesters and the Minnesota State Patrol on Interstate 94 in St. Paul were two working reporters.
Susan Du from City Pages and David Clarey from the Minnesota Daily were charged with unlawful assembly and being a public nuisance. Both were released from the Ramsey County jail Saturday.
“The only thing I was concerned with was doing my job in that moment,” Du said Saturday.
At 10:30 p.m., about 500 people raced onto Interstate 94 and blocked lanes in both directions. Du was reporting on the freeway standoff.
By 12:30 a.m., state troopers and St. Paul police had pushed the few dozen remaining protesters onto an exit ramp. “It became fairly clear that if we didn’t get out of there, we were going to get arrested, too, which was obviously not my intention,” Du said.
Remaining members of the media, including photographers and TV crews, climbed over a fence to get off the exit ramp. Du, who was not far behind them, was prevented from doing so by an officer who put his arm in front of her body. “I followed his directives” to go back down the hill, she said.
Du and protesters were handcuffed and put into a Metro Transit bus, where she sat next to Clarey. “We quickly learned that we were both reporters and that we were both kind of fixated on watching what was happening and ... got swept up,” she said.
The bus took them to the Ramsey County jail for booking, a process that took several hours. They were released more than eight hours after their arrest. Representatives of the Newspaper Guild and Randy Lebedoff, general counsel for the Star Tribune, which owns City Pages, waited for them outside the jail.
For much of Saturday, Du worked to retrieve her laptop, keys and other equipment, which were confiscated by the State Patrol. By early evening, she had them back and was back to work.