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TV News Personalities To Testify In 'May Day Melee' Suit Against LAPD

KCBS/KCAL reporter Mark Coogan, former KTLA personality Ted Garcia, and KCBS/KCAL cameraman Carl Stein were scheduled to testify as witnesses this week in the civil suit brought by a group of news people against the city of Los Angeles and its police force stemming from the clash between officers and news reporters at the 2007 "May Day Melee" in MacArthur Park.

The city has already put out more than $13 million in settlements from claims against the department related to officers' alleged misdeeds at the event, where cops appeared to steam-roll through labor protesters and news people alike as things got out of hand.

Coogan and Stein were scheduled for Wendesday testimony; Garcia was scheduled to take the stand Tuesday afternoon.

This holdout group has continued with its suit: Plaintiffs include Fox 11 reporter Christina Gonzalez, Fox 11 camerawoman Patti Ballaz (also expected to testify Tuesday), KPCC reporter Patricia Nazario and KTLA cameraman Thomas Mecozzi. The suit, Thomas Frederick Mecozzi vs. City of Los Angeles, and Los Angeles Police Department, is named for the latter.

According to a release from the plaintiff's attorneys:

Ms. Ballaz was wearing press credentials and operating a large, 70-80 pound television camera when, and without any justification, she was allegedly struck repeatedly and pushed to the ground by baton-wielding LAPD officers. She further alleges that LAPD officers verbally threatened her at gunpoint because she was a member of the news media and because of her Hispanic/Mexican ancestry, and that they also shot weapons at or near her body.

As a victim of excessive and unnecessary force by the LAPD, Patti Ballaz suffered severe injuries, among others, to her hands, legs, neck and back, necessitating four surgeries since the incident; and she will require neurotomies for the rest of her life. She also suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. Due to her multiple injuries and surgeries since the incident, Ms. Ballaz has not returned to work nor will she be able to return to her job as a cameraperson.


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