Late Thursday evening, an online article was posted by Bay Area News Group reporter Doug Oakley. In the article Mr. Oakley wrote that Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan had apologized to a group of concerned citizens who alleged that the city police did not immediately respond to an emergency call that resulted in the beating death of Peter Cukor. Oakley attended that meeting and reported it firsthand.
However, that very night, after reading the article, Chief Meehan sent an armed Sergeant to Oakley's home, insisting that Oakley got his facts wrong. At about 12:45 a.m. an armed police officer knocked on Mr. Oakley's door, not to investigate a crime, but to demand that the reporter change the story to reflect what Chief Meehan deemed to be the truth. Meehan claimed that he apologized not for the slow response to the emergency call, but for being slow to inform the public about the tragic beating -murder.
The historical imagery of sending police to a reporter's home, late at night, can go un-said for now. However, this is not just police harassment, or issuing petty citations to otherwise innocent people; rather this is a direct assault on the First Amendment and quite frankly, a show of brash force meant to intimidate and control.
Meehan has since apologized, saying it was a lapse in judgment. Certainly it was a brazen lapse in judgment. The City Attorney is investigating the matter and the City Council will also take the incident under review. To read the Bay Area News Group article click here.
Source: Bay Area News Group