Oakland Cops Owe Assualted Cameraman $175,000

A TV cameraman who attempted to film the arrival of one of the four Oakland cops shot and killed in 2009 is awarded $175,000 in a lawsuit.

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    TK
    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
    Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40, of Tracy; Sgt. Ervin Romans, 43, of Danville; Sgt. Daniel Sakai, 35 of Castro Valley; and Officer John Hege, 41, of Concord were killed in a confrontation with wanted parolee Lovelle Mixon.

    In the days after an armed felon shot and killed four Oakland police officers -- the deadliest day in that department's history -- tensions and emotions ran high, for cops and for many others involved, including a television news cameraman to whom the city of Oakland must pay $175,000 after he accused emotional cops of attacking him and breaking his camera.

    Douglas Laughlin was outside Highland Hospital in Oakland on March 21, 2009, attempting to film the arrival of an ambulance carrying the bodies of one of the four Oakland police officers shot by Lovelle Mixon, a wanted rape suspect, who was eventually shot and killed by a SWAT team. An off-duty cop ran towards Laughlin, yelling, "Hey! Get the F- out of here!" reported the Chronicle. The off-duty cop then knocked Laughlin against a car, breaking his camera.

    Cops defended their actions "in the context of the day," according to the Chronicle. Laughlin said he had not been injured but had been traumatized and had his First Amendment rights abrogated.

    Mixon shot and killed motorcycle officers Sgt. Mark Dunakin and John Hege during a traffic stop in East Oakland. Hours later, while holed up in an apartment building, Mixon shot and killed SWAT Sgts. Ervin Romans and Daniel Sakai. Mixon was then shot dead by police and an Alameda County sheriff's deputy, according to the newspaper.

    The Oakland City Council voted to award Laughlin $175,000 rather than go to federal court to answer his federal suit.