Oakland PD rides roughshod over reporters

At least six journalists were plastic-shackled for hours or hauled off to jail while on assignment during Saturday’s Occupy Oakland melee with police.

National and local leaders of the Guild, NABET and the Society of Professional Journalists sent a letter to East Bay authorities demanding better treatment.

Jon Brooks spooled some of the “dramatic tweets” from reporters on the KQED blog, news Fix. One of the journalists, Susie Cagle, a member of the Guild Freelancers, was collared for the second time while covering Occupy. She wrote about her experience for the UK Guardian:

“I heard no dispersal order – only an announcement to “submit to the arrest.”

“It was a less harrowing experience than my last arrest reporting on Occupy Oakland, which landed me in jail for 15 hours. This time, I was only detained for about 40 minutes in official credentials. My arresting officer turned off my audio recorder three minutes in.

“Every few minutes, as an officer continued to fill out my arrest report – “failure to disperse from the scene of a riot” – I insisted again on speaking with a sergeant. When officers took my photo with my name and information on a placard, I asked that they also include the press passes hanging around my neck. One looked nervous.”

Guild President Bernie Lunzer led the list of CWA affiliates protesting the shoddy treatment. In their letter sent to the Oakland police and Mayor Jean Quan, the labor and press group leaders wrote: “Numerous reports from the scene document officers ignoring reporters presenting their press credentials and admonishing them for not following orders to disperse.”

The coalition asked for a meeting with authorities “to discuss training, monitoring and other remedies to ensure that police no longer detain, harass, or otherwise block journalists from doing their jobs by reporting breaking news in the city of Oakland.”

Photo by Luke Thomas/Guild Freelancers
For more photos and coverage, visit Fog City Journal, online publishing partner of the Media Workers Guild

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