Fox newsperson Patti Ballaz was awarded $1.7 million by a Los Angeles Superior Court jury for being attacked by the LAPD at a 2007 Mayday pro-immigration rights march. The jury deadlocked on an award for fellow Fox employee Christina Gonzalez and awarded $39,000 to KPCC ace reporter Patricia Nazario who was physically attacked by LAPD Officer Jesse Reyes. Reyes has twice had “Pitchess Motions” granted to release portions of his prior complaint history to criminal defense lawyers when judges decided that the information for was relevant to the defense.
So why the disparity between Patti’s $1.7 million and Patricia’s $39,000?
Maybe it has something to do with the cowardly actions of her employer. During the incident, Nazario was on the telephone talking to a manager at the Pasadena based radio station. Nothing in the conversation involved any confidential sources of information–which would have been covered by California’s “shield law” that protects the confidentiality of reporter’s sources for news stories. In spite of the complete irrelevancy of the law, KPCC’s attorneys invoked it to prevent their employee from testifying on Nazario’s behalf. Her testimony would have clearly refuted the contentions of Officer Reyes that supposedly, demonstrators were getting rocks out of Nazario’s knapsack to throw at police and that there was justification for him attacking her.
Of course, if Reyes’ contentions are true, why did he just hit her, knocking her off her feet, but not arrest her?
City Attorney Trutanich and Mayor Villaraigosa might be comfortable with an officer like that on the city’s payroll and believe that it’s okay to proceed to trial with such a fairy tale for testimony, but I think that the average person might think that you might as well try to sell the public on the existence of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.
Anyway, remember President John F. Kennedy’s book, “Profiles in Courage?” KPCC’s actions in preventing their employee from testifying for Nazario is nothing less than a profile in cowardice. Maybe they were concerned that the Westside limousine liberal crowd they depend on for funding would be offended by taking on City Hall.