Former JPR journalist sues Medford police over arrest

MEDFORD, Ore. – A former Jefferson Public Radio journalist is suing the City of Medford and its police force over her arrest after the Almeda Fire two years ago.

April Ehrlich was reporting on officers clearing out camps at Hawthorne Park.

According to the lawsuit, the Medford Police Department set up a media staging area near the Interstate 5 overpass.

However, Ehrlich moved near the camps because, she claimed, the area was noisy and too far for coverage.

She was then arrested and charged with multiple offenses.

Ehrlich said, “The reason why I’m pursuing this lawsuit is to set a precedent, to ensure that other agencies look to this and go, ‘Okay, we need to ensure media have a right to access areas during clean sweeps.’”

All charges against Ehrlich were dropped earlier this month.

She’s suing for an undetermined amount in damages.

Wednesday night, the City of Medford released a statement. It said in part that the park was legally closed for cleaning purposes. When property is closed, the general public, including journalists, do not have access, the city stated.

She was then arrested only after refusing a lawful order to leave the closed area.

The city said because of pending litigation, it cannot comment further.

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