Reporter Awarded $700K in Arrest Settlement

( — The LA County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) has resolved a case involving an NPR affiliate reporter who was tackled to the ground and arrested while trying to document a protest in 2020. As a result, the County Board of Supervisors officially approved a $700,00 settlement to Josie Huang on November 7.

Huang was reportedly using her cell phone to capture video at a small demonstration just outside of St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood on September 12, 2020. The crowd had gathered to protest the death of George Floyd on the same night in which two deputies suffered gunshot wounds in the line of duty a short distance away. Both were recovering from their injuries inside the facility at the time.

As the protest grew increasingly unruly, at least one attendee began to clash with police who were attempting to keep the peace. Officers began to arrest the individual, but protesters tightened their ranks, refusing to disperse.

Huang says she remembers hearing police cry “back up” next. However, she found herself unable to comply; she had no room to move away. Police misinterpreted her presence as an attempt to interfere, tackling her to the ground and placing her under arrest.

According to video evidence captured during the scuffle, Huang repeatedly attempted to let police know she was a member of the press. She clearly identified herself as a reporter and stated that she was with KPCC. But the attending officers proceeded with the arrest anyway, kicking and stepping on her dropped cell phone as it continued to record from the ground.

A separate video captured by an ABC News reporter who was standing on the sidelines proves that Huang’s press pass was, in fact, hanging from her neck. For reasons that remain unclear, police ignored these details and took her into custody anyway.

The LASD cited Huang for obstructing a police officer and kept her in jail overnight. But the next day, a representative for the department claimed that she had neglected to identify herself as a member of the press and lacked proper credentials.

Huang eventually fought the charges, won, and filed a lawsuit against the County and the LASD for unlawful arrest. A judge ruled in her favor in July, awarding her a $700,000 settlement and ordering that police undergo additional training on interacting with the press. The County Board of Supervisors officially approved that resolution in early November.

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