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Washington Post Defends Reporter Arrested While Working on Story

September 23, 1990

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The managing editor of The Washington Post says a staff reporter broke no law when he was arrested for allegedly contributing to the delinquency of a minor while working on a story for the newspaper and called the police action ″unwarranted.″

″Based on the information we have, the arrest of a Washington Post reporter while he is reporting a story and breaking no law himself appears unwarranted to us,″ said Leonard Downie, Jr., Managing Editor of the Post.

″I’m particularly concerned that the police pursued this after the reporter identified himself and his purpose and that the police took his notes,″ Downie said.

Michael J. Ybarra, 23, a reporter with the Post’s Metro staff was arrested late Friday while working on a report about a new curfew for minors in Quantico, Va.

Ybarra’s supervisors said the reporter was not available for comment concerning the incident.

Ybarra was taken into custody and his notes confiscated while conducting an interview of two 12-year-old boys in a restaurant in the Virginia town about 30 miles south of the nation’s capital.

The Quantico Town Council recently imposed a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for youths under age 18 following recent vandalism in the area.

Ybarra is the second adult charged in connection with a curfew violation, but no youths have been arrested.

″I believe that the reporter was trying to do his job and just got mixed up at the wrong place and the wrong time,″ said Leo Rodriguez, Quantico Police Chief.

Rodriguez said the reporter’s notes were held as evidence but a copy would be made available to the Post.

Ybarra, who was released on his own recognizance, is to be arraigned in Prince William County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on Tuesday. He faces a maximum one year in jail and a fine of $2,500 fine.

DS-09-23-90 1530EDT

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