First Look Media’s Press Freedom Defense Fund to Provide $50,000 in Financial Support Toward the Legal Defense of San Francisco Journalist Bryan Carmody

New York – May 24, 2019--  First Look Media’s Press Freedom Defense Fund announced today it will provide $50,000 in financial support toward the legal defense of Bryan Carmody, the San Francisco based freelance journalist, in his struggle against the San Francisco Police Department's unconstitutional conduct designed to force him to disclose the identity of a confidential source.  

Carmody's first amendment rights as a journalist were violated by the San Francisco Police Department, who raided his home, seized all of his electronic equipment and took a police report that Carmody had obtained through his legitimate and professional work as a reporter.  On Tuesday, San Francisco Police Chief William Scott held a press conference alleging Carmody might be part of a "conspiracy" to leak the police report. 

"This is an attempt to criminalize journalism, and it cannot be allowed to stand," said James Risen, Director of the Press Freedom Defense Fund. "The San Francisco police are running roughshod over Bryan Carmody's first amendment rights, and we are determined to support him." 

The Press Freedom Defense Fund supports journalists in threat every day.
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Thomas R. Burke, Partner at Davis Wright Tremaine and the attorney representing Carmody added, “What Carmody experienced should never have occurred – the seizure of his entire freelance news operation- it was a deliberate act designed to chill First Amendment protected activities. We are proud to defend these rights.”

On May 10, in an effort to exert maximum pressure on the video freelancer, the police — armed with a search warrant — tried to break Carmody’s front gate with a sledgehammer, entered his house with guns drawn and handcuffed the video reporter while his house was searched. The police seized notebooks, computers, phones, cameras and other personal property.  They then obtained a second warrant for Carmody’s office, where they reviewed the contents of two safes. This unconstitutional intrusion followed Carmody’s refusal to reveal the source of a confidential police report concerning the February 22 death of San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi.  

About the Press Freedom Defense Fund

The Press Freedom Defense Fund is part of First Look Media, the media company founded by Pierre Omidyar. The PFDF provides essential legal support for journalists, news organizations, and whistleblowers who are targeted by powerful figures because they have tried to bring to light information that is in the public interest and necessary for a functioning democracy.

For more information contact: pressfreedom@firstlook.org

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