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$450,000 melee payout to journalists

June 10, 2010 at 2:35 PM   |   Comments

LOS ANGELES, June 10 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles City Council OK'd $450,000 in legal payouts to five journalists injured in a melee calling for U.S. citizenship for illegal immigrants.

The council approved the money to settle legal claims by U.S. and Mexican TV cameramen, reporters and field producers covering a May 1, 2007, rally at MacArthur Park in the Los Angeles Westlake neighborhood.

City police officers in riot gear were seen on videotape beating demonstrators and journalists with batons and firing rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse the mostly peaceful crowd after a small group of agitators began throwing rocks and bottles at police.

A police officer was seen throwing a news camera from a cameraman and beating news reporters trying to get in their news vans.

Dozens of protesters and journalists were injured as police cleared the park.

At a later news conference, Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton said, "The vast majority of people who were (at MacArthur Park) were behaving appropriately," and his department was investigating to "determine if the use of force was appropriate."

The Wednesday settlement does not cover lawsuits still pending by several other journalists, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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