Alex Thompson, a reporter for VICE News, was released from Houston Central Jail just after midnight central time Sunday morning. On Saturday afternoon, Thompson was arrested at the Omni Westside Hotel while inquiring about media access to an event being held there for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Thompson was charged with trespassing and held for approximately 11 hours. He was released on a $500 bond.
Thompson, Kathleen Caulderwood, a producer for VICE News, and a camera operator entered the Omni on Saturday to clarify press access to a luncheon being held there by the Remembrance Project, a Houston-based non-profit that advocates for families with loved ones killed by undocumented immigrants.
A Remembrance Project staffer told Thompson to wait in the lobby while she pursued more information. Hotel management then asked VICE News staff to leave the premises. Caulderwood and the camera operator departed the hotel to shoot footage of a protest outside. Thompson stayed in the lobby.
Thompson was then approached by a hotel manager who said, "Were you asked to leave and did you come back?" Thompson responded that he was a reporter waiting for clarification of his press credentials and that he had not left and reentered the hotel. The hotel manager warned Thompson that he'd be arrested if he stayed, then walked away.
A few minutes later, the manager returned and instructed a police officer to arrest Thompson.
The Houston Police Department issued a statement on Saturday afternoon claiming that Thompson left the hotel, came back, and then refused to leave.
Thompson wasn't given an opportunity to explain himself to police or to rebut the hotel manager's account after his arrest. He also wasn't read his Miranda rights, a federal requirement to inform suspects of their right to remain silent. When Thompson asked why he wasn't being read his rights, an officer on the scene responded that he wasn't required to. An officer added, "This is Houston."
Houston Police declined to comment on the arrest or on whether Thompson was read his Miranda rights. A Houston Police spokesperson was not able to provide the names of the arresting officers and added that Thompson could file an internal affairs complaint if he felt he was mistreated.
The Trump campaign issued a statement to VICE News saying they had nothing to do with Thompson's arrest.
Multiple calls and emails seeking comment from the Omni Westside Hotel were unanswered, as were inquiries to Omni's corporate communications staff.