Journalist bruised by Deputy Sheriff while trying to film Supervisors meeting


By Rebecca Bowe

Luke Thomas, the journalist behind the popular San Francisco blog Fog City Journal, posted this YouTube video yesterday documenting how a Deputy Sheriff forcefully removed him from the Board of Supervisors Chambers while he was filming a commendation ceremony held during the Board meeting.

According to Thomas, Deputy Sheriff Thompson "dug his left hand fingers into my right side that caused an [excruciating] pain and literally pulled me by my skin and flesh outside Board chambers like a dog on a leash." The incident began when the Deputy Sheriff told the cameraman to back up from a line of Aztec dancers who were performing, to which Thomas says he complied. But when he was told to step back a second time, Thomas says he complained that he was being prevented from documenting the event. That's when the Deputy Sheriff grabbed him, Thomas recounts. "It shocked the hell out of me," the photojournalist told the Guardian later. "I can't imagine what was wrong with this guy. It was completely unwarranted."

In the video, Thomas can be heard telling the Deputy Sheriff in disbelief, "Dude, you just assaulted me."

Eileen Hearst, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Department, told us that "the photographer was getting in the way of the Aztec dancers. He was asked several times to please step away from them. He did not." When asked whether the use of force was warranted in this case, Hearst said, "If [Thomas] feels it was unduly forceful, he ... can call the investigative services unit, and we'll take a look at it."

The Fog City Journal blogger wasn't issued a citation. "At the end of it all, [Thompson] capitulated and apologized for what he did," Thomas told us.

Thomas says the incident left him with "a quarter sized area of broken skin surrounded by reddish contusions."