During the public comment period of the last Novato City Council meeting, citizens urged the Council to dismiss Jeremy Portje as vice chair of the Novato Police Advisory Board. Portje was arrested and jailed late last month in Sausalito.
The city of Sausalito released this statement:
“On Monday, Nov. 30, at approximately 5 p.m. Jeremy Portje was placed under arrest for 243(B) PC – battery on a police officer, 243(C) PC – battery on a police officer requiring medical treatment, and 69 PC – resisting a law enforcement officer with violence. The incident occurred at Marinship Park, 2290 Marinship Way. Sausalito Police Department Sergeant Thomas Georges was injured.”
The Marin District Attorney’s office is weighing potential charges against Portje.
In a later development, the Sausalito police sought and received a warrant to search Portje’s camera equipment. The Pacific Sun reported that Portje is “also being investigated for conspiracy to commit a crime.” It was unknown how that relates to the initial charges, if at all.
At the Novato Council meeting, a citizen identified as Les said that the Novato City Council was warned about Portje when he was first appointed. “He is anti-cop,” the caller said, “and should be terminated.”
Several callers made note of Jeremy pretending to be a journalist, but using his camera to shoot license plate numbers of protester’s cars and “doxxing” them.
Two homeless organizers in Marin, Jason Sarris and Robbie Powelson defended Portje.
Powelson said the Sausalito police officer was the real problem. “The officer snapped and made a huge mistake.” His group is floating a petition to have the officer fired. “When the truth comes out, Novato needs to stand against police brutality.”
“Everybody’s jumping the gun,” said Sarris. “He hasn’t been convicted of anything.” He also disparraged callers who expressed concern about Portje’s arrest. Sarris also criticized the Novato Advance for its reporting on the incident.
A caller identified as Jory said “This guy with his camera shoves you to the side.”Another caller, Melanie, added that “he filmed my license plate to doxx me.”
A caller identified as Linda said “I was the elderly person pushed by Jeremy. He nearly pushed me over. He is no journalist. He is antagonistic toward the police.”
The city of Novato has remained mum on the Portje arrest.
UPDATE: SPJ defends right to film in public
The Society of Professional Journalists (NorCal) sent a letter to Marin County and Sausalito city officials, warning of potential violations of federal and state law in the arrest of journalist Jeremy Portje last month.
Portje was filming at a homeless encampment in Sausalito on Nov. 30, when he was arrested and his equipment seized by Sausalito police. Police said he resisted arrest and injured a police officer in doing so. The SPJ’s letter to Marin County District Attorney Lori Frugoli, Sausalito Mayor Jill Hoffman, and Sausalito Police Chief John Rohrbacher asks for the return of equipment and defends the media’s right to film in public places.