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."


O agree with you Arthur Fellig. I have a cache of the back of Luke's head from different spots at an event. But I guess if want to be good at what Luke does you have to be incentive to your surroundings.

Posted by Jerry Jarvis on Jul. 16, 2009 @ 1:26 pm

I don't know Luke, I don't know Thompson. But watching this video, I had no sympathy for the filmer. You can hear the feathers sweeping against the camera in the beginning of the video. Being INSIDE of someone's getup certainly means you are taking up too much space and need to get back.

Posted by Chad Armstrong on Jul. 16, 2009 @ 7:21 am

Luke regularly crosses the line at events. Has for years.

There are a small number of gentleman's rules at press events: use only the space you need, help your brother shooter, make room for others (until it enters your working area) and... never, never, Never cross another another camera.

Luke crosses other people's cameras again and again.

He takes great pictures, but he benefits greatly from a Me-First tactic.

Posted by Arthur Fellig on Jul. 15, 2009 @ 5:01 pm

Jason Grant Garza here ... Don't worry Luke Thomas I am QUITE sure that the city will deny, deflect and defer (risk manage) your complaint away while doing a perfunctory and incomplete investigation while telling you that they care. Type my name into a google search engine and read about my (Nurse Ratched) R.N. Ratched letter from the sheriff's department when I requested records (written by the SF Bay Guardian in 2002.)I could also show you a letter (from the ETHICS ??? COMMISSION) telling me that I and the Sunshine Commission were wrong regarding their (SFTF) ruling that the incident was Wilful Official Misconduct. When I wrote the ethics ??? commission regarding their incompetence they closed the case. I even took the city to court where the city lied, had my case thrown out and now that I have a signed confession admitting fault and guilt ... ask me if ANYONE has called to remedy,explain, "make me whole", etc. Now mind you I have a confession and NO CIVILITY ... what do you think you'll get especially when the city will defend at all costs (including testiling) take no prisoners (scored earth policy - destroy the other side) and then when BUSTED have NO CONTRITION, RESTITUTION, COMPASSION or HUMANITY ... don't believe me type my name into a google search engine ... read about the years, the false 5150, the fraud in federal court, the NON INVESTIGATIONS ... all the while I was being told they cared and were complying with the law. Well, they still have their jobs and after you are finished Luke so will the deputy. Ah, the audacity of FALSE HOPE, the RULE OF LAW, and HUMANITY. Good luck Luke; however, realize that if you lose ... it is set up that way ... that the game is rigged and stack against you ... my case fully illustrates the SF method of "Risk Mangement" and what "consequences flow from their illegal actions" - NONE!!!

Posted by Jason Grant Garza on Jul. 15, 2009 @ 6:08 pm

The neanderthal brown shirt who identified himself as a "peace" officer should at the very least be confined to desk duty, maybe in a padded room, and not permitted contact with the public in any official capacity.
Luke performs an invaluable service in his coverage of a wide range of local events, political and otherwise, that our pathetic 'media' outlets ignore; unless of course they are facilitating yet another photo-op for the greasy one.
The event in question can be seen at SFGTV, including the lumbering ox stumbling towards the door. Luke can be seen on this footage conducting his business in a professional, unobtrusive and respectful manner.
Patrick Monk.RN.

Posted by Patrick Monk. RN. on Jul. 15, 2009 @ 3:08 pm

ARTHUR: The Lady of the Lake,
[angels sing]
her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur
from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I,
Arthur, was to carry Excalibur.
[singing stops]
That is why I am your king!
DENNIS: Listen -- strange women lying in ponds distributing swords
is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power
derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical
aquatic ceremony.
ARTHUR: Be quiet!
DENNIS: Well you can't expect to wield supreme executive power
just 'cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!
ARTHUR: Shut up!
DENNIS: I mean, if I went around sayin' I was an empereror just
because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me they'd
put me away!
ARTHUR: Shut up! Will you shut up!
DENNIS: Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system.
ARTHUR: Shut up!
DENNIS: Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system!
HELP! HELP! I'm being repressed!
ARTHUR: Bloody peasant!
DENNIS: Oh, what a give away. Did you here that, did you here that,
eh? That's what I'm on about -- did you see him repressing me,
you saw it didn't you?

Posted by glen matlock on Jul. 15, 2009 @ 12:43 pm

nothing to see here folks...luke thinks he can be anywhere he wants and doesn't have to play by the rules we all do, he's really obnoxious at events and has pushed and shoved his way in the he's getting his come-uppance when all he had to do was move out of the way of the people in the chamber...what's more pathetic though, is that the BG has made this into another phony baloney non-story because their army of unpaid interns didn't make quota this week.

sorry, kids but this is another nail in the coffin of your so-called "paper."

Posted by puke thomas on Jul. 15, 2009 @ 12:08 pm

That same deputy once told me to "get my ass off of" the desk at the clerk's office (had said ass on said desk to get a good angle of Stuart and John delivering a rose to said clerk). In his defense, my ass was on the top of the desk -- though in my defense, my ass was clean.

Posted by Chris Roberts on Jul. 15, 2009 @ 12:07 pm