Four journalists filed complaints Tuesday against the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, charging they were intimidated and unlawfully roughed up while attempting to report on a May 6 protest at City Hall.
Natasha Dangond and Gabriella Angotti-Jones are photographers for the City College newspaper, The Guardsman. Joel Angel Juárez is a student at San Francisco State University who photographs for the Mission neighborhood newspaper El Tecolote. The fourth journalist is Sana Saleem, a reporter for the news blog 48hills.
The journalists said that when sheriff’s deputies attempted to push protesters out of City Hall, they were grabbed, shoved to the floor, and one of them was struck in the head with a baton.
The protest stemmed from a hunger strike in front of the Mission Station over the use of deadly force by police in a string of confrontations with San Francisco residents of color. The protesters were also calling for the removal of Police Chief Greg Suhr.
The complainants seek a formal apology from the involved deputy, a review of policies and practices by deputies regarding the rights of journalists during protests, implementation of policy reforms, and a reprimand of the involved deputy.
The journalists are also looking into whether they have grounds for filing a civil damages lawsuit.