Search Warrant Executed on JMU Student Paper

April 16, 2010

A search warrant was executed on the James Madison University student newspaper Friday. Commonwealth's Attorney Marsha Garst says the warrant was for pictures of people involved in violence at last weekend's SpringFest block party.

The affidavit for the warrant has been sealed.

The editor of "The Breeze," Katie Thisdell, says Garst copied hundreds of images related to SpringFest 2010 onto a disc. Many of the images were unpublished.

At this time, newspaper staff are consulting with legal counsel and with the Student Press Law Center in Arlington, Virginia.

Police in riot gear had to break up the party Saturday using tear gas and pepper spray. Several people, including some JMU students, were arrested and charged with a variety of charges including failing to leave from an unlawful assembly.

Since the party, the Harrisonburg and university communities have been reacting. Harrisonburg Mayor Kai Degner has said the JMU students who were arrested should be expelled.

The JMU Student Government Association president also issued a public apology to the city council.

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