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Prosecutor defends failed effort to convict Iowa journalist

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Posted at 6:31 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 19:18:37-05

An Iowa prosecutor is defending his unsuccessful pursuit of charges against a journalist who was arrested while covering a protest in a case that critics say amounted to an attack on the press.

Polk County Attorney John Sarcone told The Associated Press on Thursday that the evidence against Des Moines Register reporter Andrea Sahouri was “more than sufficient” to take the case to trial and that dismissing it would have amounted to special treatment.

A Des Moines police officer pepper-sprayed and arrested Sahouri last May while she was covering a Black Lives Matter protest. Sahouri was charged with disobeying police orders to disperse and interfering with the officer who arrested her.

The officer did not activate his body camera during the incident.

A jury acquitted her on Wednesday.

"Prosecutors should always take seriously the significant harm a possible criminal conviction can have on a person's record," the ACLU tweeted in response to the incident.