LA Pays $1.7m to Fox Camera Operator

Fox TV camera operator Patricia Ballaz has been awarded $1.7 million in damages stemming from the May Day 2007 Immigration Rights rally in Los Angeles where she was beaten by the LAPD.

In her testimony, Ballaz described seeing the LAPD unexpectedly attack reporters in attendance at the rally in MacArthur Park: “He was just an average man doing nothing. I had no idea why this was happening. It was like a war zone.” She was struck repeatedly by an officer with a baton and reported sustaining severe physical and emotional injuries. She has not returned to her job since the May 1, 2007 rally and her lawyer said she will not work in the industry again.

Deputy City Attorney Jessica B. Brown argued that Ballaz and other reporters ignored police instructions to get out of the way. “They are not kings; nobody gives them special rights,” she said.

The jury also awarded KPCC reporter Patricia Nazario $39,000 but were unable to reach a verdict on Ballaz’s fellow Fox colleague, reporter Christina Gonzales.

The city has already agreed to pay almost $13 million in lawsuits connected to that event, which makes it a very expensive, very bad day for the LAPD.

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