LAPD threw Fox reporter like a rag doll, coworker tells court

(RAW STORY)   A Fox TV camerawoman told a court hearing Tuesday that the Los Angeles police violently threw reporters and activists to the ground after an immigration rally, offering the most detailed testimony of a bizarre 2007 incident which she described as a “war zone.”

“The police officer threw her around like a rag doll,” Fox camerawoman Patricia Ballaz told the court.

Courthouse News, an insider publication that tracks court cases, adds details: “Under direct examination from her lawyer, Browne Greene, Ballaz described May 1, 2007 at MacArthur Park near downtown Los Angeles as an ordinary scene and an ordinary news day. It was like any other work day, Ballaz said. People were picknicking and music was playing in the park.”

But as reporters moved closer to the police, they saw people screaming and running in the other direction. Ballaz said she then saw a policeman hitting another news reporter. “He was just an average man doing nothing,” Ballaz said. “I had no idea why this was happening. It was like a war zone.”

She testified that after the beating she took from the LAPD, she had to have multiple surgeries on her hand, elbow and ankle and may still need more surgeries. Greene showed pictures of Ballaz’s hands and elbows that were taken after the surgery. The pictures showed distinct stitch marks on her hand and her arms.

“How painful is it to have surgery on your hand all the time?” Greene asked.

“It’s painful all the time … and you can’t do much except take pain pills,” Ballaz said. “I can’t, I can’t do much of anything.”

When Greene asked Ballaz what all these surgeries and physical obstacles mean to her, Ballaz answered, “It means the life I knew before is gone … I feel like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel for me.”

In an earlier Courthouse News report filed Friday by Chie Akiba, an expert witness testified that the police had used excessive force.

“There was no hindering of the police officers at all,” the expert, who had been called by the plaintiff’s lawyer, said.

A police expert testified at the trial over the violent break-up of a May Day rally that the police charge through a group of reporters “was no legitimate use of force.”

As a witness called by lawyers for a FOX TV camerawoman, Lou Reiter said one of the fundamental tasks of law enforcement is to protect people’s civil rights. Plaintiff’s lawyer Browne Greene asked Reiter whether, based on his review of the evidence, the use of force by the policemen at the rally was reasonable.

“No, the force used was unreasonable,” Reiter said.

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