Heyman identified himself as a reporter and had a Public News Service shirt on when officers arrested him on a charge of willful disruption of governmental processes, a misdemeanor.
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“(It’s the) first time I’ve ever been arrested for asking a question,” Heyman said. “(It’s the) first time I’ve ever heard of anybody being arrested for asking a question. I mean, I’ve gotten into, you know, situations where people have yelled at me … people accuse me of being biased or question my legitimacy or my professionalism but I’ve never been arrested before.”
Heyman’s attorney Tim DePiero called the arrest a “highly unusual case.” He described Heyman as a reputable journalist and a mild-mannered man.
“Today is a dark day for democracy,” the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia said in a statement. “Mr. Heyman’s arrest is a blatant attempt to chill an independent, free press. The charges against him are outrageous, and they must be dropped immediately.”
Heyman was released from jail on a $5,000 bond. DePiero said Heyman will next face an arraignment, although a court date was not immediately set.