AFTRA Sees Red Over L.A. Police 'Brutality'


The American Federation of Radio and Television Artists, the union representing media workers, has issued a list of questions it wants answered and actions taken in the wake of the L.A. police's attacks on media workers during the MacArthur Park May 1 demonstration on immigration.

Those include a public acknowledgment of wrongdoing by the mayor and police, ongoing training for police, and money. The police have conceded it was an overreaction and have reportedly taken some disciplinary steps.

"The attacks on media workers were despicable and unlawful," said Lawrence Mayberry, AFTRA Los Angeles Director of Broadcast,. "Some media workers -- including an AFTRA member -- were seriously injured, and most, if not all, were terrified by the open display of police brutality. The events in MacArthur Park cast a pall on the entire news media as well as serving up a major black eye to the image of Los Angeles, the so-called "City of Angels".
., he said in a memo to AFTRA members.

Following are AFTRA's demands as outlined to members.

1. There must be open, transparent and independent investigations of the May Day Incident, with appropriate penalties and punishments meted out.

2. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Police Chief William J. Bratton must make public statements acknowledging that the LAPD attacks on media workers was despicable and unlawful behavior and will not be tolerated in Los Angeles; The recent statements by both the Mayor and the Chief are encouraging, as is the reassignment of certain police officers, but so much more is needed by way of concrete steps to change a culture in the LAPD that permits the May Day melee in the first place.

3. There needs to be rapid development and implementation of a LAPD Media Relations training curriculum. Said training to be regular and ongoing. Media workers and their employer stations to be coordinated with and used as trainers.

4. There needs to be a review of ongoing relations/encounters between media workers and LAPD at local news and crime scenes. Media worker access to these sites is imperative. Any recommendations to improve the actual on the ground scenarios should include Media workers and their unions in the deliberation process.

5.  We demand an open meeting with the stakeholders in this matter: the unions, the Mayor, the Chief of Police.

6.  We demand more funding for the LAPD Labor Detail.