Two journalists are suing Lewis County and a security company it hired to do crowd control at the 2007 Southwest Washington Fair in Chehalis.
According to lawsuit documents filed in Thurston County Superior Court, Publisher Terrence Knight and Managing Editor Jennifer Dillon of The Sitting Duck, an alternative bimonthly publication in Olympia, were covering a Johnny Rivers rock concert at the fair until the night went awry.
With press credentials, Knight asked if he could go backstage to interview Rivers, the famed writer of such hits as “Secret Agent Man” and “Baby I Need Your Lovin’.”
According to documents, Melody White, the fair’s assistant entertainment coordinator, told Knight he could not interview Rivers. After heated words were exchanged between Knight and White, security guards employed by the Starplex Corporation began escorting Knight toward his car.
When Knight attempted to take a photo of Duwayne Judd-Thomas, the security guard leading him away from the fairgrounds, his camera was taken from his neck, the documents state. Authorities from the Chehalis Police Department and the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office showed up on the scene and they also said Knight could not take photographs.
“This was a brazen attack on the press,” said the 62-year-old Knight, adding that he believes White mistook him for someone else who, based on her comments, had insulted her mother. “Officials and employees attacked someone on a case of mistaken identity.”