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Police strike two news photographers with batons during Berkeley protests

Police roughed up photographers for the Chronicle and KTVU Channel 2 during protests in Berkeley, the Chron reported.

Chron freelance photographer, Sam Wolston, said a Berkeley police officer struck him about 7:30 p.m. Saturday as he crouched to take pictures between a line of officers and protesters outside Berkeley police headquarters on Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The baton strike came after officers had touched Wolson twice, apparently to stop him from moving near the line, he said.

A YouTube video of a CNN news report, posted at http://bit.ly/1w72f5F, shows the officer hitting Wolson with a baton 31 seconds into the segment.

Also Saturday, a police officer struck an unidentified KTVU photographer with a baton.

“We became caught in the current,” reporter Katie Utehs said on that night’s broadcast, as a video showed the incident. “Jabbed by a baton, pushed back from the police line, as people hurled rocks at officers.”

The Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists wrote a letter Sunday to Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan and Mayor Tom Bates to protest the treatment of journalists covering the protest and ask for an investigation into “inappropriate uses of force by officers against members of the news media.”

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