It was just a few months ago that LAPD chief William Bratton argued that the department had learned its lesson and no longer should operate under a consent decree or be overseen by the feds. Now he has to explain why his cops beat up journalists on Monday, despite a 2002 legal settlement in which the department agreed to comply with the law when it comes to the media. Kinda hard to make the case now that the LAPD is ready for prime time. Today's editorials (Times) say "it's not too early for outrage" and (Daily News) "the old LAPD was on duty at the rally, not the modern force we hope we have."
"We are sorry for what happened to our employees and find it unacceptable that they would be abused in that way when they were doing their job," said Alfredo Richard, spokesman for the Spanish-language network Telemundo, of the anchor and the reporter who were hurt during the evening rally.
Other members of the media who were injured included four employees of KVEA-TV Channel 52, a KTTV-TV Channel 11 news reporter who suffered a minor shoulder injury, a camerawoman who has a broken wrist and a reporter for KPCC-FM (89.3) who was bruised by a police baton.
"I was dumbfounded," said the KPCC reporter, Patricia Nazario. "I've covered riots. I've covered chaos. I was never hit or struck or humiliated the way the LAPD violated me yesterday."
Pedro Sevcec was anchoring the evening news for Telemundo when he saw the riot police moving slowly toward the news crews. A few dozen people had gathered to watch Sevcec do his live broadcast. "The next thing I heard was the shotguns," he said.
Police knocked over monitors and lights and hit reporters and camera operators with batons, he said. Sevcec said police hit him three times and pointed a riot gun at his face before pushing him out of the park.
"We should never be engaged in attacking anyone in the media," Bratton said [at Wednesday's news conference.]
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