Berkeley, CA police Chief Micheal Meehan sent one of his officers to the home of a reporter to demand changes to a story at 12:45 AM. Meehan was twitchy about a story posted online saying he apologized to Berkeley residents over how information about a police shooting was released to the public.
“This was an official act and it was grossly improper and it calls into question (Meehan’s) judgement and his understanding of the role of police in society,” said Peter Sussman, a former president of the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists who has long been involved with First Amendment issues. “It is a serious infraction of privacy, if nothing else. When it’s done under the cover of authority it does become state intimidation.”
Calls from Chief Meehan to the reporter, Doug Oakley, continued into the morning, with more changes requested.
The incident has prompted an official apology from Berkeley’s interim City Manager Christine Daniel.