12-Year-Old Journalist Questions Officer Who Threatened To Arrest Her

Hilde Lysiak

Hilde Lysiak

Hilde Lysiak, a preteen journalist who has garnered national attention for her coverage at Orange Street News, a paper she publishes out of her parents' home in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, was pulled over by Patagonia, Arizona marshal Joseph Patterson on Monday as she rode her bike in pursuit of a story.

Lysiak was on a bicycle investigating a tip around 1:30 p.m. on February 18, according to her account of the incident, when Patterson stopped her and asked for identification.

"I don't want to hear about any of that freedom of the press stuff", Patterson allegedly told the young reporter, adding, "I'm going to have you arrested and thrown in juvey".

The video begins with Lysiak on her bicycle asking Patterson, who is sitting in his patrol vehicle, why he said she "could be thrown in juvie". "What exactly am I doing that's illegal?"

He then asks if he's being filmed.

"If you paste my face on the internet it's against the law so I'm not giving you permission to use my picture or my face on the internet, do you understand all that?"

She said in her Orange Street News article about the incident that she identified herself as a reporter and asked him why she could be sent to jail. The marshal told her that he didn't want her to be harmed by the mountain lion that had been spotted, and he accused her of disobeying his commands and lying to him when she said she was headed to a friend's house, which she disputed.

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She has received national recognition for her reporting skills and writes a book series called "Hilde Cracks the Case" for Scholastic. That evidently irked Patterson, who "took exception" to her attempts to chase down the story, the global reported. While employed there, he took Lysiak on many breaking news adventures, where she learned everything she needed to know about covering the news, The Seattle Times reported.

"She asked me a question, 'If I could be arrested,"' Patterson said. My focus is on protecting our First Amendment Rights.

He also reiterated that it is a felony in Arizona to put the information of a law enforcement agent on the internet. Town officials actually disciplined Patterson for the encounter. "The matter has been carefully reviewed and we have taken action we believe to be appropriate for the situation", the statement said. However, she cautioned against retaliation by circulating personal information about Patterson online. He said he didn't see anything like that in Lysiak's video.

"What I saw was a 12-year-old girl". But she has found no shortage of stories to cover there.

He then told her he was going to get in touch with her parents and drove off. The law deals with publicizing information such as home addresses and "has nothing to do with taking photos of uniformed police officers doing their jobs in public", he wrote.

Miss Lysiak is a reporter for the Orange Street News where she files multiple stories a week on topics ranging from petty theft and drug dealing in her small community, to issues as large as the border wall controversy. It wasn't immediately clear what brought her to Arizona.

"She is holding the powerful accountable and demonstrating the qualities of a good, ethical, persistent journalist", President J. Alex Tarquinio said via the group's Twitter page. Notably, when she was nine, she was the first to report on a murder in her hometown. In 2016, she beat out other local media outlets with a story about a homicide in her neighbourhood by interviewing residents.

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