W.Va. Paper Refuses Photo Demand In Student Dustup



A West Virginia newspaper has refused to provide officials photos of student disturbances after a football game, but a television station is apparently providing film footage. The material was sought in a warrant issued by a judge to identify students involved in incidents after last week’s West Virginia University-Virginia Tech game. Among those compiled by the Dominion Post in Morgantown: Firefighters were struck with objects thrown by students; a state trooper was hit on the head with an unopened beer can; another sustained an eye injury from a piece of broken glass. City police officers were struck with bottles and cans of beer.

The Dominion Post declined to comply with the warrant. After reviewing the federal Privacy Protection Act, which limits the power of authorities to conduct newsroom searches, the city dropped the request. An attorney for the newspaper said that, “search warrants are a form of intimidation and it’s wrong, because in this case it doesn’t give the paper an opportunity to respond in a proper legal way.”

Jim Platzer, news director at WBOY-TV, Channel 12 in Clarksburg, said the station was also served with a search warrant. “We feel, and it is the policy of the company, to release what we have. There is no reason for us to stand in the way. They are trying to see who committed the crimes.”

The Dominion Post says that officers used pepper spray to control the crowd, both inside the stadium, to prevent the goalposts from being town down. At least 40 West Virgina University students face disciplinary action as a result of arrests and citations.

Link: http://www.dominionpost.com/a/news/2003/10/29/aa/

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