While I was busy photographing political rallies involving Barack Obama and John McCain as well as Obama’s victory party last week, an Oakland police chief was shamelessly berating, insulting and threatening an Oakland Tribune videographer.
And it was all caught on tape.
The video is so appalling that it’s a wonder Oakland School District Police Chief Art Michel hasn’t been fired yet, not that the Tribune hasn’t called for his termination. He even went as far as confiscating the video camera before returning it three days later.
It all started when Tribune videographer Jane Tyska was filming a student protest against immigration raids and she came in contact with Michel’s squad car.
Tyska claims Michel grazed her with his car as he drove by. Michel claims that Tyska deliberately hit his car with her elbow as he drove by.
Regardless of who’s telling the truth – and I believe Tyska is telling the truth – Michel went completely overboard in his reaction to the incident by telling her to “get in the fucking car”, “you’re a pain in the ass” and “you’re a lying sonofabitch”.
Considering it was election day, perhaps Michel was upset that McCain was losing in a landslide.
Whatever his excuse, he has no excuse. It’s shocking to see that an officer with such a volatile temperament was able to become a police chief in the first place. No telling how he treated people when he knew he wasn’t being filmed.
Tyska, who was threatened to be arrested for inciting a riot, was never arrested.