- The Washington Times - Monday, December 8, 2014

Several reporters were assaulted by Berkeley, California, police officers during clashes with Eric Garner protesters on Saturday, the Society of Professional Journalists claims.

The organization’s Northern California chapter wrote an open letter Monday to Mayor Tom Bates and Police Chief Michael K. Meehan, saying that several journalists were struck with police batons during the violence following a New York City grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer who caused Garner’s death, the Huffington Post reported.

In one instance, a police officer allegedly hit a photographer in the head with a baton, which “can constitute deadly force and is only justifiable under extremely limited circumstances,” SPJ said.

“We are sure that you agree attacks on journalists are entirely unacceptable,” the letter read. “Reporters are on scene to report the news as it happens. They are not participants in the protests. Under no circumstances should members of the press be subject to such gratuitous and potentially deadly police violence.”

The letter demanded police “adhere to their constitutional obligations and respect the freedom of the press.”

“We also call for a thorough investigation into inappropriate uses of force by officers against members of the news media,” it concluded.

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