An Arizona law enforcement official has reportedly been disciplined after he was caught on camera threatening to arrest a 12-year-old reporter this week.
Hilde Lysiak is a young journalist who publishes the Orange Street News out of her parents’ home in Selinsgrove, Pa.
The preteen was in the small town of Patagonia, Ariz., on Monday when she was confronted by Joseph Patterson, the town marshal, The Washington Post reported.
Hilde caught the official, whose position is equivalent to a police chief, falsely claiming that it was illegal for her to film him and publish his face online.
Patterson had allegedly threatened to throw her in juvenile jail before she started filming.
The town of Patagonia posted on its website Wednesday that it has received numerous comments concerning the interaction.
“The matter has been carefully reviewed and we have taken action we believe to be appropriate for the situation,” the website states. “We do not publicly disclose personnel actions including discipline and will have no further comment on this matter.”
It’s unclear why Hilde was in Patagonia specifically, but the young reporter has been interviewing local residents on border security in Arizona.
Hilde wrote on her news site that she was riding her bike to a news tip about 1:30 p.m. on Monday when Patterson stopped and asked her for identification.
She identified herself as a member of the media and Patterson reportedly said that he didn’t “want to hear about any of that freedom of the press stuff.”
“I can have you arrested, do you understand?” Patterson allegedly said.
When Hilde asked what she could be arrested for, the marshal reportedly responded with “disobeying his command.”
The two later ran into each other again, and that’s when the young reporter began filming.
“You stopped me earlier and you said that I can be thrown in juvie,” she can be heard asking in the video. “What exactly am I doing that’s illegal?”
Patterson, pictured in a white truck, told her that “it’s against the law in Arizona” to record someone and then put their face on the internet.
There is no such law in Arizona and recording a law enforcement officer in a public place is protected under the First Amendment, the Post noted.
The marshal told her that he was trying to protect her from a mountain lion that was seen around the area, news that Hilde herself broke on Feb. 14.
Patterson then accused her of disobeying a law enforcement officer by “lying” to him when she said she was on her way to her friend's house.
“You can lie to your mother, you can lie to your father, you can lie to your priest, but you can’t lie to a law enforcement officer,” he said in the video.
“I’ll be getting a hold of your parents,” Patterson added before he drove off.
Hilde posted the video on YouTube, where it had been viewed more than 31,000 times as of Friday afternoon.
The 12-year-old reporter’s father is also a journalist but she has made a name for herself, even inspiring a Scholastic book series and an upcoming TV show.
She went viral in 2016 when she was the first to break the news of a murder in her hometown, the Post noted.