BISMARCK, N.D. - Protesters assembled outside the Bismarck Tribune building this afternoon to back the blue.
Protesters gathered outside of the Bismarck Tribune Monday morning in response to a reporter releasing an officer's name involved in a shooting. The Bismarck Police Department did not release the identity of the patrolman.
“Well they're certainly entitled to their opinion and to express their views we obviously stand by our story,” said Steve Wallick, Bismarck Tribune editor.
Crime Reporter Jack Dura found the name in public records and decided to release it, despite Police efforts to use Marsy's Law as a shield.
“Bismarck Tribune reporter didn't break the law but he went around the respect where the police department and the people said they didn't want a police officer's name released and he released it in an article anyway,” said Mike Connely, Bismarck citizen.
Jack McDonald of Wheeler Wolf Law Firm says the news media can use any public information they obtain if they wish to do so.
Marsy's Law concerns the release of information by officials, not the use of that information. He also says the Bismarck Tribune was perfectly within its constitutional rights to print the officer's name if it wanted to.
The protesters say they were there for more than a show of support for law enforcement and first responders.
“So people know that there are still laws in place that need to followed,” said Deanne Knodel, Bismarck citizen.
Dura declined to comment. The Editor of the Tribune says conflicts between local enforcement and the paper is not unusual.
“There are times when they may not care for what we do and there are times when we may not agree with what they do. That's normal throughout the business we do but that doesn't mean we don't support them,” said Wallick.
Bismarck Police Department declined to comment on Monday's protest.
Protesters have taken to Facebook and created the hashtag Jack Challenge - encouraging the reporter to apologize to the Bismarck Police Department officer whose name he published.