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WATCH: Sheriff under the gun for cuffing, strip-searching citizen reporter

Government can’t ‘single out journalists because they don’t like their viewpoint’



A Texas sheriff and his deputies have been sued for arresting a citizen journalist whose views the sheriff opposed.

The case has been brought by the Institute for Justice against Fort Bend County officials on behalf of Justin Pulliam.

He was “standing still when a Fort Bend County deputy walked up and arrested him for interfering with the police in December 2021,” the legal team explained.

“While Justin had permission from the property owner to record a mental health call and was far from the active scene, the deputy cuffed him and put him in a squad car. Justin was forced to undergo a strip search and spent several hours in jail, during which the sheriff personally called Justin in for a meeting and became angry when Justin refused to speak to him without a lawyer present,” the IJ said.

“Arresting and prosecuting Justin is a violation of his First Amendment rights, and it can’t stand,” explained Tori Clark, a lawyer for the IJ. “The sheriff may not like Justin’s style, but the government doesn’t have the power to single out journalists because they don’t like their viewpoint.”

The IJ confirmed Pulliam previously had conflicts with Sheriff Eric Fagan, a Democrat.

In 2021, he was excluded from a press conference with Fagan at the sheriff’s specific order.

But, the IJ said, “The First Amendment prohibits government officials from unreasonably restricting an individual’s right to record the police, and it doesn’t let them decide who is or isn’t a journalist.”…


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