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Marshal Told Kid Reporter She Couldn't Tape Him. She Stayed Firm

12-year-old Hilde Lysiak taped her encounter with Arizona's Joseph Patterson
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2019 1:43 PM CST

(Newser) – A crack reporter in Pennsylvania has covered everything from vandalism to a skunk shooting in her small town, but it's her interaction with a marshal in an Arizona town near the Mexican border that's now making headlines, with her age being a contributing factor to the buzz. Hilde Lysiak is just 12, but she's already the publisher of the Orange Street News out of Selinsgrove, Pa., and the youngest member of the Society of Professional Journalists, per the Arizona Republic. Hilde, whose dad is also a journalist, says she was threatened with jail time by a marshal in Patagonia, Ariz., where she was last week, reporting on stories including a border fence (she climbed it) and a mountain lion on the loose, per the Washington Post. Her activity apparently irked Joseph Patterson, the town's marshal who ran into her at least twice during her stay.

"I don't want to hear about any of that freedom-of-the-press stuff," he told her the first time he saw her, telling her he'd have her arrested and sent to juvenile detention if she didn't listen to him. In their next encounter, Hilde started taping, asking him to confirm the arrest warning. "What exactly am I doing that's illegal?" she asks him. "You can tape me, OK?" Patterson responds, adding he was concerned for her safety. "But what I'm going to tell you is if you put my face on the internet, it's against the law in Arizona, OK?" Recording an on-duty law enforcement officer in a public place is protected under the First Amendment, which Hilde noted when she posted the video later on her site. Nogales International reports the town has since taken "unspecified action" against Patterson. (Read more journalism stories.)

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