Police detain ABC-7 crew covering crash
(ABC) EL PASO, Texas — An ABC-7 crew covering a crash on I-10 on Monday unwillingly became part of the story.
Motorists stuck in traffic witnessed veteran journalist Darren Hunt and photojournalist Ric Dupont being handcuffed and detained.
Just after 1:30 p.m., the two arrived to report on a flipped semi-truck on I-10 West near the Sunland Park exit. They parked on the left shoulder of the eastbound lanes of I-10 as witnesses ran toward victims to offer help.
A pregnant woman sat on the side of the freeway, sobbing, and, according to a witness, several men in military fatigues helped pull the driver of the semi-truck out of the cab.
As emergency crews tended to the driver, police Sgt. Raul Ramirez told the ABC-7 crew from across the barrier to leave. Several people and half a dozen cars were also stopped on the eastbound shoulder.
Darren continued to try to get information from the men in fatigues when the situation began to escalate. The sergeant jumped the barrier and told Darren to get in the truck (an ABC-7 news unit) and leave, then held Darren with his hands behind his back to the side of the truck belonging to a witness that was parked on the shoulder.
“I’m not doing anything,” Darren said repeatedly.
Darren and Ric were handcuffed, read their Miranda rights and taken to the Westside Regional Command Center. They were released within a few minutes. The entire incident lasted about an hour.
The El Paso Police Department has launched an investigation.
“It’s unfortunate that any time the member of the public or the news media feels that they’ve been treated unfairly by any member of our department, and so, that’s a very serious type of allegation – something that we have to ensure that we investigate completely, and that’s what we’re doing here and conducting an investigation,” said El Paso police spokesman Javier Sambrano said.
Two members of the El Paso Police Department reviewed the video at ABC-7 studios and took a copy for Police Chief Greg Allen. Their department of internal affairs is reviewing the incident.
Sgt. Ramirez has been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation.
Police ask anyone who witnessed the incident to call them at 564-7000.