Journalists Reportedly Assaulted By Berkeley Police During Eric Garner Protests

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Members of the media were reportedly assaulted by police officers Saturday while covering protests in Berkeley, California, the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists wrote in a letter to Mayor Tom Bates and Police Chief Michael K. Meehan Monday. Nationwide protests over the decision not to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner have been largely peaceful, but events turned violent over the weekend in Berkeley as demonstrators clashed with police. According to the letter, several journalists were struck with police batons during the unrest while clearly displaying press credentials and, in some cases, verbally identifying themselves as members of the media…

Members of the media were reportedly assaulted by police officers Saturday while covering protests in Berkeley, California, the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists wrote in a letter to Mayor Tom Bates and Police Chief Michael K. Meehan Monday.

Nationwide protests over the decision not to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner have been largely peaceful, but events turned violent over the weekend in Berkeley as demonstrators clashed with police.

According to the letter, several journalists were struck with police batons during the unrest while clearly displaying press credentials and, in some cases, verbally identifying themselves as members of the media. In one instance, a photographer was allegedly hit on the head with a baton, which, according to the SPJ, “can constitute deadly force and is only justifiable under extremely limited circumstances.”

“We are sure that you agree attacks on journalists are entirely unacceptable,” the letter read. “Reporters are on scene to report the news as it happens. They are not participants in the protests. Under no circumstances should members of the press be subject to such gratuitous and potentially deadly police violence.”

The organization said they condemned the actions of the officers in the “strongest terms possible,” and urged Mayor Bates and Chief Meehan to make sure all police “respect the constitutional rights of the press.”

The Huffington Post has attempted to contact the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for further comment and will update this post if and when the organization responds.

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Journalists Reportedly Assaulted By Berkeley Police During Eric Garner Protests