Radio & Television News Association

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

RTNA Demands Probe of Police Actions

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Radio and Television News Association today demanded a thorough probe into ``the violent treatment of journalists'' by police during disturbances at a pro-immigration rally at MacArthur Park.

``The Radio and Television News Association calls for an immediate and complete investigation of the violent treatment of journalists by Los Angeles Police Department personnel at the conclusion of Tuesday's immigration march,'' said an RTNA statement.

``There is evidence that officers knocked reporters to the ground, used batons on photographers and damaged cameras, possibly motivated by anger over journalists photographing efforts by officers to control the movements of marchers,'' said an RTNA statement.

``We are asking that if any journalists have information regarding this matter, including videotape of encounters between police and reporters, that they notify RTNA immediately by calling (562) 987-4545.''

RTNA President Steve Kindred, the business anchor at KFWB, added in a telephone interview that the organization, which represents Southland broadcasters, would conduct its own investigation into the incidents. That investigation will be spearheaded by the RTNA's legal counsel, Royal Oakes.

``We're disturbed by some of the video we've seen but, like the police department, we'd like to look at it objectively,'' Kindred said.

He said that the RTNA, given its ``ongoing interest in improving relations with the police department,'' wants to ``make sure that we have a full understanding'' of what transpired yesterday.

Police chief William Bratton indicated he is displeased by the conduct of some of his officers in yesterday's disturbances.

``Some of what I've seen as chief of the department does not look appropriate,'' Bratton told KNX this morning. ``There were some scenes there, clearly, based on my years of experience and the years of experience of many of my command staff, did not appear to be (appropriate).''
Television footage shows a crowd, apparently prodded by police, sweeping through a live broadcast by a Telemundo reporter, injuring some employees of the Spanish-language station.
An officer can be seen knocking down a cameraman, then grabbing the camera and tossing it to the ground.

A Telemundo anchor said the police action in response to the behavior of some demonstrators was disproportionate.

One reporter who was at the scene said a police order to clear the park was boomed from a helicopter only after officers on the ground began moving against demonstrators and journalists.


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