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Oakland to pay $175,000 to manhandled TV photographer

Oakland’s City Council has agreed to pay $175,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a former KGO-TV photographer who claims several police officers attacked him and broke his camera as he tried to film outside a hospital on the day four officers were killed in 2009.

Douglas Laughlin said the incident on March 21, 2009, outside Highland Hospital in Oakland left him traumatized and led to his retirement. He argued that he had a First Amendment right to film from the sidewalk as an ambulance delivered one of the mortally wounded officers to the hospital.

According to the Chronicle:

Laughlin’s attorney, Chuck Bourdon, told the Chron, “If these guys would simply acknowledge that they acted unprofessionally on an emotional day, he would have understood. … Instead, they tried to make him feel like he was wrong.”

In agreeing to pay the money, the city did not admit any wrongdoing. Council approved the settlement Tuesday.

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