A recent clash with police over the handling of an Occupy Chapel Hill demonstration has reminded some of a long-ago incident involving N&O reporters and photographers.
Police who were breaking up a 1978 May Day street festival near N.C. State University arrested three N&O staffers who were covering the story. The police were criticized for their use of force on some of those in custody.
Thirty-two persons were arrested after police broke up the annual affair on Park Avenue near N.C. State University. At least three persons were taken to hospitals.
"If this had been a riot, they (police) would have been acting appropriately, but it was not a riot," said Pam Minor, 24, of Oxford, who was visiting Raleigh to attend the party.
Another resident, however, was critical of the crowd's behavior. "I saw a bunch of kids tonight who missed the riots of the Sixties and thought they'd catch up," Susan Musick, a resident of Park Avenue told a reporter at the scene Saturday night.
[Jackson] Hill of The N&O said he was arrested shortly after he arrived a the disturbance at about 11:15 p.m. He had been on his way to cover a fire but was instructed by an editor to head to Park Avenue.
Hill said he was told by a policeman to "clear the area." The officer later said he had meant that Hill should be "off the street," Hill said.
Hill, who had identified himself as an N&O photographer, moved to the sidewalk north of Flint Street and was taking pictures of police sweeps of the street when he was arrested, he said.
He said two officers left their formation in Park Avenue, walked up to him on the sidewalk, grabbed him by the arm and led him to a police bus where he was searched.
[David] Arneke, an N&O copy editor assigned to cover the disturbance, arrived at Park Avenue about 11 p.m. Arneke said he witnessed Hill's arrest and walked to the Velvet Cloak Motel to call The N&O.
Arneke said he was standing on a sidewalk on Park Avenue talking to The N&O office on a two-way radio when two officers arrested him. Arneke said that when he identified himself as a reporter, the officers said they didn't care. He was handcuffed and taken to the Wake County jail.
[Steve] Murray said he was called at home and asked to replace Hill, who had been arrested earlier.
He said he had also been standing on the sidewalk when he was grabbed by the police and struck on the head with a nightstick.
When he attempted to take pictures on the bus, Murray said, an officer hit his camera and his hands. -- The News & observer 5/1/1978
Two television newsmen from WRAL-TV were slightly injured in the incident.
N&O chief photographer Steve Murray under arrest.