“The police and the panthers started clashing, and it got pretty violent, and guns were swinging around. At that point I thought, ‘OK, this is a little too hot for me.’ I backed up to walk away,” Kailath said.
He said he was standing on the grass shooting a video on his iPhone when police behind him forced him into the street. He was then tackled to the ground and arrested all while he was still shooting video.
“I repeated as you can hear in the video over and over again that I was a journalist. It didn’t seem to make a difference,” Kailath said. “I was on my face on my stomach with my hands behind my back with two or three officers pining me down. One of the arresting officers said to me, ‘I’m tired of ya’ll saying you’re journalists.’” Kailath was charged with obstructing the roadway and spent 22 hours in jail with about 30 protestors. He said he’s of Indian decent but was processed as a black male.
“I can’t know what’s in another man’s heart, but you can see in the video I’ve posted there’s another reporter about eight feet to my left in the purple shirt. He happens to be white. He wasn’t arrested, and I was,” Kailath said.
Kailath was released from the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison July 17. He is back at work reporting stories to listeners but said he never thought he’d be part of the story or that he’d be arrested. “Nobody who is obeying the law should be arrested,” he said.
While WWNO radio is continuing its news coverage of the the protests and events in the capital city, the news director has instructed reporters to wear media credentials and other clothing that will easily identify them as journalists.