Dan Heyman, a veteran health reporter for the Public News Service, was arrested on Tuesday night for repeatedly asking a question to two Donald Trump aides on healthcare that he believed hadn’t been answered.
The incident unfolded at the state Capitol building in Charleston, West Virginia, where Dan Heyman simply wanted to ask White House adviser Kellyanne Conway and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price whether or not domestic violence would count as a preexisting condition under the new health care bill that the Republicans want to replace Obamacare. But after asking the above duo the question, Dan Heyman didn’t get his answer.
Rather than shrugging his shoulders, giving up, and going home, Dan Heyman persisted, and he decided to follow the Donald Trump staff members down a hallway of the building repeatedly asking the question to Conway and Price until they gave him an answer. Kellyanne Conway and Tim Price didn’t buckle, though, and instead the police arrested Dan Heyman and charged him with “willful disruption of state government processes.”
According to the Washington Post, the complaint from state officials also insisted that Heyman was “aggressively breaching the Secret Service agents to the point where the agents were forced to remove him a couple of times from the area walking up the hallway in the main building of the Capitol.” It then added that Dan Heyman “was causing a disturbance by yelling questions at Ms. Conway and Secretary Price.”
As well as facing a fine of $100 or more over the offense, the charge against Dan Heyman could also result in jail time. Footage of Dan Heyman being taken away by officers after committing the above crime was captured and then uploaded to Public News Service’s Twitter account.
After being released on $5,000 bail, Dan Heyman later insisted at a news conference following his arrest that he had just been trying to do his job. Heyman explained, “This is my job; this is what I’m supposed to do. I think it’s a question that deserves to be answered. I think it’s my job to ask questions, and I think it’s my job to try to get answers.”
According to the Washington Post, Dan Heyman also noted that during his persistent questioning, Tim Price “didn’t say anything,” while Heyman’s lawyer called his arrest “a highly unusual case,” “way over the top,” and ” bizarre,” before admitting that he’d never had a client that was locked up for “talking too loud.”
Soon after news of Dan Heyman’s arrest started to emerge, the American Civil Liberties Union Of West Virginia criticized it, insisting that it was in complete violation of the First Amendment, adding, according to Vox, that it was “a blatant attempt to chill an independent, free press.” Not only was Dan Heyman recognized as a member of the press during his repeated questioning to Price and Conway, but he also had his press pass on.
After the incident, Tom Price was quizzed about Dan Heyman’s arrest, and he took this opportunity to praise the police officers that apprehended the journalist to Stat News for “doing what they thought was appropriate.” Tom Price went on to superfluously add that Heyman “was not in a press conference,” suggesting that he believed he had no right to answer such questions in these circumstances.
Both Tom Prince and Kellyanne Conway had traveled to Charleston, West Virginia, in order to take part in discussions with local and state policymakers and experts about how best to fight the state’s rampant opioid addiction. West Virginia has the highest drug overdose death rate in the United States Of America.
[Featured Image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]