Berkeley Police Out Of Control … Even Broke My Phone And Assaulted Me

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By Lisa Dettmer, KPFA unpaid staff member. Dettmer sent this email to her colleagues at 2:00AM on Monday, December 8, 2014 and consented to having it published here. Dettmer is a producer on KPFA Women’s Magazine.

Police attack protesters in Berkeley, California

Last night, I was covering the demonstration around  midnight. In response to protestors setting garbage on fire the police got into a line and began pushing the crowd down the street.  I was on the sidewalk and trying to explain to them that I was “press” and I was videotaping for KPFA, and instead of allowing me to continue videotaping from the sidewalk where I was not in their way at all,  they hit the phone out of my hand and broke my phone and then shoved me and wouldn’t let me get my phone back.  When I tried to approach a police car to ask to get my phone back, four armed police jumped out of the car with their guns drawn and told me to get away from their car.  They seemed quite  out of control generally,  which is not new.  I managed to get my broken phone back, but have not been able to upload my video coverage of the protest and my encounter with them from my Samsung  to my Mac after they smashed the screen. If I am able to tomorrow,  I will send the audio to the news department.

While  this kind of behavior  is not new for the Berkeley Police who have no better record than Oakland or anywhere else, I feel very strongly KPFA should be covering this – and not just  from our desks.   If Al-Jazeera can cover this  from thousands of miles away,  surely we can from one mile away.

I really hope others were out there this weekend and have tape and also will be covering this for the fund drive tomorrow. I think this is what is of interest to our audience, and selling premiums on an un-related topic feels  quite uncomfortable, given what is happening.