Oakland News Videographer Wins $175,000 Settlement

Carlos Miller

A news cameraman who was attacked by a group of Oakland police officers will receive a $175,000 settlement.

Police justified their behavior by claiming they were emotionally distraught after four of their fellow officers were gunned down.

But the Oakland City Council approved the settlement Tuesday.

The incident occurred outside a hospital on March 2009 when former KGO-TV videographer Douglas Laughlin was attempting to videotape the arrival of an ambulance carrying one of the slain officers.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle:

The video shows off-duty Officer Fred Shavies running toward Laughlin and yelling, “Hey! Get the f- out of here!” Shavies then knocked Laughlin against a parked car, breaking the camera’s viewfinder, according to Laughlin’s suit.
A group of officers then forced Laughlin away from the hospital and onto East 31st Street. Police proceeded to rope off a section of the street and declare the hospital’s emergency-room area a crime scene, which Laughlin’s suit said was “manufactured to rationalize” the officers’ actions.
“You guys can’t do this to me,” Laughlin protests on the video.
Sgt. Rich Vierra, who at the time was chief of staff to then-acting Chief Howard Jordan, tells Laughlin, “Sir, look at what we’re doing here, man. Sir, that’s one of our police officers that got shot. You need to leave.”

Sgt. Mark Dunakin and John Hege, both motorcycle officers, were fatally shot by wanted rape suspect Lovelle Mixon during a traffic stop in East Oakland. Hours later, while holed up in an apartment building, Mixon shot and killed SWAT Sgts. Ervin Romans and Daniel Sakai. Mixon was then shot dead by police and an Alameda County sheriff’s deputy.


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