Judge: Seattle News Outlets Must Hand Over Images, Videos of Destruction


A Washington State judge has ruled that five Seattle news outlets must abide by the subpoena to hand over unpublished images and videos of the destructive May 30 protests in Seattle.

The ruling isn’t without its limits, though. Police can only use the images to identify suspects for arson and gun investigations, and they cannot use cellphone images or videos.

Judge Nelson Lee sided with the Seattle Police Department in saying that the videos and pictures were critical to the investigation and not protected by state law.

Lee ruled that the police had met its burden to overcome the shield law: that the images were “highly material and relevant” and “critical or necessary” to prove an issue that has a compelling public interest for its disclosure. Getting the stolen weapons off the street was one compelling public interest, Lee found.... The law also required the police to demonstrate that all “reasonable and available means” to obtain the information has been exhausted.

As one would expect, the media companies strongly disagree with the ruling, saying it removes protections for journalists.

Seattle Times Executive Editor Michele Matassa Flores said the paper strongly opposes the subpoena and “believes it puts our independence, and even our staff’s physical safety, at risk.”

“The media exist in large part to hold governments, including law enforcement agencies, accountable to the public,” Matassa Flores said. “We don’t work in concert with government, and it’s important to our credibility and effectiveness to retain our independence from those we cover.”

A lawyer for the media companies has not said whether they plan to appeal the ruling or not.

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33 thoughts on “Judge: Seattle News Outlets Must Hand Over Images, Videos of Destruction”

      1. Do you know for certain what the true motivation is?? How can anyone with a working brain stem not be concerned as to their true purpose of that order. If needed for evidence that’s one thing. If needed to bury the destruction, that is quite another. I hope all phone video gets securely hidden just to be sure it’s available if the motive is the continued corruption by the non working leaders refusing to protect their citizens properly. If people don’t get that, that’s their issue.

      1. It’s all EVIDENCE OF CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES.

        The media HAS THE OBLIGATION AND DUTY to turn over any, and ALL possible evidence of criminal actions.

        Even if the media news crews are implicated in INCITEMENT TO RIOT, which IS NOT COVERED by the 1st Amendment.

    1. Guess all these people destroying lives shouldn’t be removed? Who would you suggest pay for all their
      destruction and the damages they’ve done?

  1. this is the result of many years of hate of untagonis personality of Nancy covic 19 Pelosi , she poison the mind of good Democrat in and out Congrees . she must resign.

      1. The LAST ‘good’ democrat was James Trafficant from Ohio.

        He fell out of favor for NOT ALLOWING THEM TO KNUCKLE HIM UNDER THEIR CONTROL

        He was convicted of a sham crime, sent to prison by party controlled judge and jury, and died shortly after release from prison.

        Being a “GOOD’ democrat will get you killed now.

  2. Tat Seattle Times editor is comical as hell! What BS! They currently do not exist to hold governments accountable. They exist solely for the purposes of spreading propaganda for the dumbass-o-crat parties struggle to bring socialism to our country. The current media is a complete joke and full of lies and misrepresentations!

    1. I too saw the enormity of the humor in that carp. How do those people say or author such nonsense with a straight face. I don’t question their consciences anymore, that’s been gone for too many years to remember at this point.

  3. Protection for journalists? You have got to be kidding! They ran out of independence, credibility, reliability or HONESTY a very long time ago! They are nothing more than propaganda con men and women! They don’t see anything wrong with the violence toward law enforcement and have even encouraged it, and then they have the audacity to say their journalists could be put in danger? Well, guess what, media? I for one do not give a damn about you or your terrorists thugs! You have put your stamp of approval on all of the terrorist activities to date, and I wouldn’t lift a finger to help ANY of you under ANY circumstances!

  4. Outstanding ruling by the judge and the court. It’s time to hold media sources accountable. If they want to be considered part of the American society they can play the same rules as everyone else. They are not exempt from or “above the law” !

  5. Turn them over. It’s the police and public’s right to see them. What are you hiding, liberal media? We know what!

  6. Turn them over. It’s the police and public’s right to see them. What are you hiding, liberal media? We know what!

  7. The media don’t work in concert with the government, no, but they work hand in glove with the Democrat party. So their role as “protector of the people” is patent BS.

  8. It is time to put an END to these Riots and Vandalism. The US Constitution allows for Peaceful Protest by all American Citizens. However, Peaceful Protest does not include Arson, Looting, and Attacks on Police, Federal Agents or other civilians. If this occurs this is no longer a Peaceful Protest it is a Riot and the Police and Federal Agents should be allowed to use ALL means available to Protect the General Public, Buildings, and more importantly Themselves to disperse the Rioters and Arrest the Arsonists, Lotters and Assailants. If Fired upon by these Rioters which should include the Commercial Grade Fireworks, these Officers of the Law must be allowed to protect themselves and if needed Deadly Force should be used.

    1. Maybe its past time that WE THE PEOPLE take the streets BACK from these terrorists. With enough of us armed like most Veterans would be, we can eliminate a lot of them. The demonrats want a civil war again, OK. Lets put a stop to their snowflakes.

  9. As to my understanding of the media constitutional rights. They, the media are only protected as far as SOURCES for stories they are working on. Not photo’s or evidence of criminal wrong doing. Arsonists and those who stole guns need to be identified and apprehended.

  10. They think it puts their staff’s safety at risk. Aren’t they precious. But putting a whole city’s safety at risk is something they support.

  11. STOP…….CALLING……THEM…….’PROTESTS’/’PROTESTES’!!!!!!!! If they were ‘destructive’, they were NOT PROTESTS!!!
    Just like ANYONE who calls these VIOLENT, LAWLESS, CRIMINAL RABID ANIMALS ‘protesters’……are NOT JOURNALISTS!

  12. Sounds like the media would rather protect the guilty and keep the mobs on the streets creating news for them to air…

    Wouldn’t that make the media ACCOMPLICES TO THE CRIMES?

  13. Wonder if those pictures/videos will change the mind of “Humpty Dumpty Nadler” that all the destruction /rioting is just a “MYTH” ….what would be his excuse then?

  14. It appears that the media, of all types, only respect the judges decision when it’s in their favor. Proper journalism, which is scarce these days, protect every participant from being victims of fake news.

  15. Independence from those you cover? Credibility and effectiveness? Try pulling on your leash to see what actually determines your effectiveness. As for credibility: nothing times nothing is nothing.