Student reporter pepper sprayed by police talks press freedom
Maeve Walsh, former special projects editor at The Lantern, holds her press badge up at the location where she and her two colleagues were pepper sprayed by Columbus police in June 2020.Marisa Twigg

Student reporter pepper sprayed by police talks press freedom

'Leave or go to jail': Maeve Walsh, former special project editor for The Lantern student paper at Ohio State University, spoke on how the incident impacted her first amendment rights as a journalist.

On June 1, 2020, three reporters stood at the intersection of North High Street and Lane Avenue in downtown Columbus, on behalf of Ohio State University’s student newspaper The Lantern: Sarah Szilagy, a Junior campus editor, Maxwell Garrison, a Junior assistant campus editor, and Maeve Walsh, the special projects editor.

The three student journalists had been working on assignment all day covering the Black Lives Matter protests in Columbus, Ohio following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. When the city's 10 p.m. curfew struck, Columbus police officers threatened to arrest the journalists and pepper sprayed them in an attempt to force them out of the area.

Walsh, who has since graduated, spoke with Matter News and Eye on Ohio about her experience being pepper sprayed by the Columbus police and how the incident impacted her first amendment rights as a journalist.

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This story was partially funded by a grant from the U.S. Press Freedom Accountability Project from the Committee to Protect Journalists and News Leaders Association.

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