Kansas City police arrest Star photographer at Ferguson protest march

Star photographer Jill Toyoshiba was detained Tuesday night by Kansas City police.
Star photographer Jill Toyoshiba was detained Tuesday night by Kansas City police. KSHB

A Kansas City Star photographer was arrested and ticketed by police Tuesday night while covering protesters who were marching through the Country Club Plaza to Westport.

Officers were out in force to keep about 100 protesters out of the street.

Jill Toyoshiba told newspaper editors that police arrested her after she had been taking photos of marchers on a sidewalk and stepped into the street to let them move past. She was released about an hour and a half later.

Police spokesman Capt. Tye Grant said Toyoshiba had been given several warnings to get back on the sidewalk.

“She continued to walk down the street and crowds were following her when she was doing it,” Grant said. “We can’t make the distinction.”

Toyoshiba said she heard only one warning and got out of the street.

When she got out of the way of the marchers later, she said, “I didn’t intend to step into the street. I stepped off the curb in front of a parked car.”

Grant said police made a total of five arrests that included a person who assaulted a police horse. Others resulted in citations for walking in the street.

“It’s a travesty that a working journalist was arrested in the course of doing her job last night,” said Mike Fannin, editor and vice president of The Star. “This appears to be a serious overreaction by the Kansas City Police Department. We are outraged and will fight these charges.”

During the march, police blocked several intersections in an effort to ensure the crowd’s safety and keep them out of traffic, Grant said.

The protest was one of several in Kansas City and many others across the country as citizens expressed anger at a grand jury’s decision not to indict a white Ferguson police officer in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager.

Other Kansas City events included a prayer rally, a demonstration downtown and a gathering at a church.