The L.A. Press Club sent this letter to the LAPD yesterday about the MacArthur Park incident. The FBI is investigating, and so far, it seems like the Chief is saying all the right things. But will something meaningful come of it? We doubt it. In the meantime, though, we think we’ve discovered our favorite “citizen journalist.”
May 2, 2007
Chief William Bratton
Office of Chief of Police
Los Angeles Police Department
150 N. Los Angeles Street
Los Angeles, Calif. 90012
RE: POLICE ATTACK ON NEWS PROFESSIONALS
Dear Chief Bratton:
As Los Angeles’ oldest news media organization, we wish to express our concern about police officers’ attacks on news reporters and photographers yesterday during the immigration rally in MacArthur Park. There is no excuse for these attacks which sent several news professionals to the hospital for treatment of their injuries.
The press pass issued by your department clearly identifies reporters and photographers. It’s doubtful that your officers could have mistaken newspeople for protesters. The MacArthur Park attack was not an isolated instance. LAPD officers shot credentialed reporters and photographers with non-lethal projectiles that also caused injuries during the 2000 Democratic National Convention.
Besides the investigation into the incident that you have already ordered, we urge you to take extra steps to ensure these deplorable actions against the press do not reoccur. We urge you to require that division and bureau commanders order special roll calls to make it clear to every patrol officer and detective that news professionals are impartial observers who are off limits to attack, abuse or arrest as long as they are just doing their jobs. If our organization can be helpful in any regard to policy, please let us know.
Los Angeles Press Club for
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE LOS ANGELES PRESS CLUB
CC: John Mack, President, Los Angeles Police Commission
Councilman Dennis Zine