Journalist contests her arrest at mall

    A photojournalist covering a protest at a controversial army recruitment site at the Franklin Mills Mall in northeast Philadelphia says she was wrongly arrested and will contest the charges.

    A photojournalist covering a protest at a controversial army recruitment site at the Franklin Mills Mall in northeast Philadelphia says she was wrongly arrested and will contest the charges. The Center offers visitors free access to Army video games, and has been the site of several protests since opening a year ago. The woman was arrested along with 6 protesters this month. But she says her first amendment rights as a journalist were violated.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091005sparmy.mp3]

    The Army Experience Center is a $13 million dollar facility that welcomes visitors with a large neon sign that reads “Eat, drink, play.” It features 19 XBoxes, 60 computer video game stations and simulated rifles.

    Cheryl Biren-Wright, a photographer for OpEdnews.com, a left-wing website, says she was arrested without warning while photographing a protest. Although Biren-Wright was offered probation, she says she wants the case to go to trial.

    Biren-Wright’s attorney Paul Hetznecker says the arrest jeopardizes first amendment rights.

    Hetznecker: If you threaten and intimidate the press and tell them they’re gonna be arrested if they don’t leave in some arbitrary manner with some arbitrary line of demarcation you’re eliminating the right of the general public to hear and view that event for themselves.”

    A spokesman for the Philadelphia police department says Biren-Wright was warned to leave the scene several times and had no official press credentials.

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