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LAPD treatment of journalists denounced, again, after abortion rights protest downtown

Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Political News

LOS ANGELES — Independent journalist Tina-Desiree Berg was standing on a sidewalk filming the arrest of an abortion rights protester in downtown Los Angeles on Friday night when a police officer hit her on the side of the head.

Berg, a regular chronicler of L.A. protests, had been "focused on getting the shot" of the arrest and hadn't even seen the officer approaching her, she said. As she tried to find her bearings, another officer shoved her so hard she fell to the ground, video showed.

Others in the area shouted that Berg was a journalist as she got back to her feet and showed her press credentials — hanging around her neck — to the officer who shoved her.

"We're trying to protect you," he said — which made Berg and others bristle.

"It was so poorly handled, I still can't believe it," Berg told the Los Angeles Times on Saturday morning.

Journalists and media observers said the incident fit a broader pattern of aggressive and seemingly unlawful treatment of journalists by Los Angeles Police Department officers during the protests, which followed the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling overturning the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision.

 

Over the course of several hours, LAPD officers repeatedly ignored recently expanded protections established for journalists covering protests in the state and used physical force to remove them from areas where they had a right to be, journalists said.

According to Times reporters, witnesses' videos and interviews with other media members on the ground, journalists were pushed, struck with batons, forced out of areas where they had a right to observe police activity and blocked from entering other areas where police and protesters were clashing and arrests were being made.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore said the department will be investigating the complaints.

"We'll investigate every allegation of misconduct, which includes that a member of the media demanded and should have been afforded access and were denied," Moore said. "If the officer is found to have ignored the law, ignored the policy, then disciplinary action will follow."

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