The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved a $700,000 settlement to a local reporter after she was tackled and arrested by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department during a protest in 2020.
On Tuesday, Nov. 7, the board voted to approve the settlement for Josie Huang without comment.
Huang is a reporter for KPCC and LAist.
The incident happened on Sept. 12, 2020, when she covered a confrontation with protesters at the emergency room entrance of a hospital in Lynwood, California, where two deputies shot in an ambush near a Compton transit station were being treated.
The demonstration occurred during a series of protests following the police killing of George Floyd.
Huang was pinned to the ground and arrested by sheriff deputies.
The sheriff’s department claimed she didn’t have proper media credentials, failed to properly identify herself as a reporter and was “interfering with a lawful arrest” of one of the protesters.
Cell phone footage obtained from Huang’s phone showed her identifying herself as part of KPCC, a local public radio station, and saying, “You’re hurting me.”
Huang released a statement following the supervisors’ vote.
“Journalists in Los Angeles County should be able to record police activity in public without fear of unlawful arrest,” she said in the statement published by the Associated Press. “My arrest was traumatic, but I hope that some good can still come of this experience.”
According to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, this is the largest settlement for a reporter whose rights were violated while covering a protest in 2020.
The organization reported the settlement also includes requirements that LASD provide deputies with briefings on press rights before patrol assignments where they will likely come into contact with members of the media, as well as written guidance given to all LASD employees on the laws and policies governing their interactions with journalists.