Radio Free never takes money from corporate interests, which ensures our publications are in the interest of people, not profits. Radio Free provides free and open-source tools and resources for anyone to use to help better inform their communities. Learn more and get involved at

Independent videographer Sam Seligson was arrested by New York City police officers while reporting on a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Brooklyn on May 18, 2024.

Brooklyn Paper reported that the rally marking Nakba Day — which commemorates the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during the Arab-Israeli war of 1948 — has been held in the Bay Ridge neighborhood for years without incident.

Seligson told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker via direct message on social network X that he has reported on the rally for the past several years and that he was livestreaming the demonstration on the video platform Twitch, filming as police made arrests in several waves.

He wrote that as a new wave of arrests began at approximately 4 p.m., police arrested someone who was filming a commanding officer and then pushed away a group of women who were yelling at them about his detainment. As he filmed an officer tackling one of the women, another commanding officer in a white shirt grabbed Seligson and pulled him to the ground.

“I stand up and back away because I didn’t do anything besides filming,” Seligson wrote. “I was on the sidewalk at this point, still obeying the law. And then they continued to grab me. Told me to get down, which I did, can see me sit down in my live stream. Then they grab my hair and pull me into the street and try to flatten me for arrest.”

Seligson told the Tracker that the officers dragged him across the ground, and while one tried to pull his arm backward another officer was on his back pushing his face into the cement. In footage of his arrest, multiple voices can be heard identifying him as a member of the press while officers pin him down.

He said that he sustained no major injuries, but had a bump on his head, a scrape with bruising on his shin and some soreness.

Seligson said he identified himself as a journalist and that while he wasn’t wearing his city-issued press credential at the moment of his arrest, it was in his pocket. He added that, “They saw my press badge and said ‘Oh shit’ out loud and then tucked it in my backpack.”

After he was cuffed, Seligson said, he was transported alongside other arrestees to New York City Police Department headquarters at One Police Plaza and waited outside for around three hours before finally being processed and taken to a holding cell.

The videographer was released at around 1 a.m. the following day and ordered to appear for an initial hearing on June 7. The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office confirmed when reached by phone that Seligson is charged with disorderly conduct, obstruction of government administration and resisting arrest.

The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment.

This content originally appeared on U.S. Press Freedom Tracker: Incident Database and was authored by U.S. Press Freedom Tracker: Incident Database.


[1] Pro-Palestine organizers denounce police brutality, refute claims of outside agitators at Bay Ridge Nakba Day protest • Brooklyn Paper ➤[2] Twitch ➤[3] ➤