The black photographer is suing the California Police Department and the City of California, which he accuses of violating his civil rights because of race when he was arrested while documenting a homeless camp.
Jeremy Portier says his rights as a First Amendment journalist were also violated when Sausalito officers arrested him on November 30 and confiscated his photographic equipment.
“(Officers) have spoken openly to silence and” obscure “Mr. Portier’s journalistic coverage,” the February 18 lawsuit said.
“We know that Jeremy Portier held a press conference during which alarming allegations were made against the Sausalitt police department,” Mayor Janelle Kelman said in a statement to McClatchy News. “In this case, a review of the available evidence was conducted and we found nothing to confirm any evidence that this incident was about race, as alleged in front of the cameras. As we previously told the press, the receptionist was arrested not because he was a journalist, but because his camera collided with the face of a police officer, as a result of which the officer was treated. «
So far it is reported shooting a documentary about homelessness in Marin after the eviction of boat owners in Richardson Bay The receptionist was involved in a “verbal confrontation” with officers before his arrest, the Marin Independent Journal reported at the time.
Video from Portje restrained by officers was published on social networks, where prominent passers-by chant “do not hurt him.”
“Why are they doing this? Because I asked them questions? ” In the video you can hear the receptionist asking.
One officer received bruise and cut on face during the confrontation, police said, but the district attorney declined to charge the photojournalist after he was arrested on two counts of suspicion of beating a peace officer and one count of obstructing an executive officer.
“We have shown that we support and respect the right to freedom of speech,” said then-Mayor Jill Hoffman, according to the Independent Journal. “It is unacceptable to interfere with the police investigation and injure an employee of our department.”
A freelance journalist is currently suing the city and its police department for $ 21 million.
According to the lawsuit, Porte arrived at a homeless camp to film his documentary when he and his subject noticed “screams and shouts” and police activities nearby.
Richardson Bay has a long history of “anchor exits”, or residents of rental boats that are anchored offshore who was recently asked to release the boats.
“As part of his journalistic coverage of events unfolding in the homeless community, and as a result of unfavorable relations with the city and (police), Mr. Portier assembled a camera and tripod to record police activities and events unfolding,” the lawsuit said.
According to the lawsuit, Porte, who is said to have had many positive encounters with officers who later arrested him, made a video of the activity and was not told to stop filming as stated in the lawsuit.
However, about an hour later, the officer approached him “aggressively”, locked the camera lens and “rushed” to the receptionist, inflicting cuts on the officer’s face, the lawsuit said.
The officer then grabbed Portage’s dreadlocks, alleged in the lawsuit, and began punching him and shouting, “Enough resistance.”
After officers put Porte in the castle on his shoulders, he knelt, “firmly restrained,” according to the lawsuit.
“Until now, the crowd from the camp stood on video and scolded (officers) for attacking an innocent journalist,” the lawsuit said.
The receptionist was arrested and after experiencing shoulder pain was taken to hospital. Although it was not broken, the lawsuit states that its rotator cuff was “severely injured” during the arrest. He was required to post $ 15,000 bail despite the fact that he did not meet with a judge.
Although his equipment and mobile phone were confiscated, the provincial office said they will not view frames.
After the incident, Porte felt several negative consequences and impacts on his daily life, the lawsuit said.
In addition to severe and persistent chronic shoulder pain, he also showed symptoms of severe depression, including excessive sleep (18 hours a day), loss of appetite, unfounded fear of police violence, fears and anxiety caused by passing police sirens and police. cars and the general exhaustion of interest and energy to participate in his journalism classes, “- said in a lawsuit.
According to the receptionist, the color of his skin was a “motivating factor” when officers arrested him and confiscated his equipment.
A photojournalist is demanding a total of $ 21 million from the city and police.
“I want change,” Portier told a news conference, according to Mercury News. “I am want to ensure the safety of journalismto protect the sanctity of journalism and the freedom of the press to tell these stories and not allow governments to silence us. ”