Arrested for asking questions, charge against WBRZ's Nakamoto dismissed
WHITE CASTLE - A trespassing charge filed against WBRZ Chief Investigator Chris Nakamoto by the town of White Castle was dismissed Friday.
In March, Nakamoto was at town hall to review documents related to a public records request concerning the mayor's salary and benefits. Clerks, frustrated with Nakamoto being at town hall asking questions, called police. A White Castle Police officer handcuffed Nakamoto, escorted him to the police station and issued Nakamoto a misdemeanor summons. The summons was written for an alleged violation of statute 14:63, remaining after being forbidden - essentially trespassing.
"I certainly can't fathom their thought process of arresting a reporter who is working as a reporter in a public place. That's one of a kind," attorney Lewis Unglesby said in an interview Friday afternoon after learning the charges were dismissed. "Chris never should have been arrested, he never should have been told to leave. He should have been accommodated."
Security video showed Nakamoto patiently waiting for town officials before he was arrested in March. Workers said Nakamoto was causing a disturbance, and would not leave when asked. The town attorney told a Baton Rouge newspaper Nakamoto tried to go into restricted areas of the office. Security video shows that was not the case.
"Any time government is trying to act abrasively or secretly, either of the two, then people get concerned. And, they should," Unglesby said.
The town did not comment on the dismissal Friday.
Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz