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Council approves $450,000 to settle claims in MacArthur Park melee

June 9, 2010 |  5:43 pm

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday approved legal payouts totaling $450,000 to five journalists caught up in a confrontation at a MacArthur Park May Day demonstration in 2007 during which police fired rubber bullets and swung batons at a crowd. 

The Los Angeles Police Department officers were caught on videotape as they wielded batons and fired less-than-lethal rubberized bullets in an attempt to disperse the mostly peaceful crowd after a small group of agitators confronted police. Dozens of protesters and journalists were injured as officers cleared the park.

In voting to settle legal claims with the reporters, the council approved $250,000 for Carl Stein, a cameraman for KCBS/KCAL, and $50,000 for former KTLA reporter Ted Garcia, according to city records.

The council also approved $50,000 payouts each to three members of a Telemundo reporting crew. They were reporter Carlos Botifoll, cameraman Fernando Mejia and producer Elisa Rojas. 

Council members also approved $50,000 to settle a claim filed by Raad Elias, who was working as security for the Telemundo crew, records show.

The settlement does not cover lawsuits filed by several other journalists, which are still pending.

-- Robert J. Lopez