In the memo to officers, Capt. Robertson bold-faces the part of the statute (PC 409.5 (d)) that gives the media access to disaster scenes:
- "Nothing in this section shall prevent a duly authorized representative of any news service, newspaper, or radio or television station or network from entering the areas closed pursuant to this section."
- "Unprofessional behavior, on the part of the media, is just that; 'Unprofessional'. Any unprofessional behavior should be noted in the form of a memorandum and forwarded to the Napa Sheriff’s Office PIO for handling. The Napa Sheriff’s Office will advise their employer of their unprofessional behavior."
- "I have been a reporter since 1971, and have covered every kind of story, in every imaginable situation. This is the most flagrant example I have ever seen of peace officers losing their cool, and abusing their power.
"Their actions were without just cause, and overly forceful. They confiscated and broke newsgathering equipment and private property, including a camera phone. They restrained the news media from covering a story when we had every right to be there, and broke my equipment as I tried to document their actions in detaining us.
"If this is how those Napa County Sheriff Deputies deal with accredited journalists carrying cameras and microphones who know the law, how will they treat average citizens in other situations?"
(Photo credit: Kim Komenich, Chronicle. Click here to see additional photos. Click here to see KTVU's raw video of the incident. Click here to see ABC 7's report of the arrest.)