It was odd that CBS chose to lead with Iraq rather than the Los Angeles rally since it made the opposite decision yesterday when Bill Whitaker led with the May Day immigration marches, assigning the Iraq veto to second place. Especially odd since the bloody aftermath turned out to be more newsworthy than the peaceful parade itself.
Police donned riot gear and attacked parts of the crowd in downtown MacArthur Park after being pelted with bottles. A factor in NBC's decision to make the clash its lead was that its sibling network's anchor, Pedro Sevcec of Telemundo, was caught up in the conflict as he was preparing to go on air. He described a police rifle being pointed at his face. NBC's Peter Alexander quoted Sevcec's assessment of the LAPD riot police: "It was excessive force. They basically hit women, children and journalists."
ABC's Brian Rooney (subscription required) listed those cleared by the police advance: demonstrators, street vendors, bystanders, members of the press, "a man carrying an American flag was hit." CBS' Whitaker (no link) saw police using "batons to shove and punch the crowd" and firing rubber bullets. Carl Stein, a cameraman for the network's local affiliate KCBS-TV was knocked to the ground and the station's reporter
Carl Mark Coogan called the cops' charge "utterly uncalled-for" and "overkill to the nth degree."
UPDATE: our apologies to reporter Mark...Carl is his cameraman's name.
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