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Journalist arrested during protest now in custody of immigration agents

A journalist arrested during a protest is now in custody of immigration agents.

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The disorderly conduct and obstruction charges against Manuel Duran had been dropped, but Thursday, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office confirmed Duran was in ICE custody.

In an email sent to WHBQ, the Sheriff's Department said Duran refused to sign bond, and he was taken into custody by ICE agents shortly after his release.

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WHBQ asked a Sheriff's Office spokesperson who alerted ICE about Duran and if it's their policy to contact federal agencies on immigration matters. 

Duran was arrested on Tuesday in front of the Shelby County Jail on Poplar Avenue. He's a reporter for Memphis Noticias, a Spanish-language publication.

According to court records, Duran paid his $100 bond shortly after his arrest, but according to the Sheriff's Office, he didn't sign his bond paperwork.

Wednesday night, the Sheriff's Office spokesperson, Earle Farrell, told WHBQ the Sheriff's Office hadn't been asked to detain Duran, so it's unclear how ICE got involved.

However, we do know he's in the custody of federal agents, and we're working to find out when he might have a hearing on the matter.

We reached out to the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and they sent us the following statement: 

"Thanks for reaching out regarding NAHJ's statement on Manuel Duran. We will be releasing this in the next few minutes. Sending to you first:

Washington, D.C., April 6, 2018 - The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) called today for the immediate release of Manuel Duran. He is the owner of Memphis Noticias and has been a dedicated voice for Latino communities.

“The detention of Manuel and attempt to suppress his reporting is an outrage to our public's right to an independent and necessary press,” NAHJ President Brandon Benavides said.

Journalists should not be at risk for doing their jobs or exercising the right of freedom of the press. Immigration and Customs Enforcement need to free Duran because he should never have been arrested.

NAHJ also continues to remind media covering this story to do so fairly. In a responsibility to inform the public and set the tone for how people in the country address immigration and discuss immigrants, the association urges journalists not to use the term “illegals” as a noun to refer to people living in the country illegally. No human being is illegal.

The First Amendment in our Constitution gives us the freedom of the press. We must use the correct language to fulfill this responsibility and do our jobs to tell compelling stories that affect our communities across the country."

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