LOS ANGELES (CN) - A City News Service reporter claims riot police incited Occupy Los Angeles protesters and attacked and arrested him on a bogus charge while he was covering a rally in late 2011.
Robert Calvin Milam sued the City of Los Angeles and his arresting officer Victor Johnson in Superior Court.
Milam says he was at an Occupy L.A. rally on Nov. 30, 2011, shortly after midnight, when police tried to disband protesters at City Hall South.
"At some point, the Los Angeles police officers, in full riot gear, began to restrict the egress of those exercising their First Amendment rights and blocked access to leave the premises," the complaint states.
"As tension mounted by the Los Angeles police officers, plaintiff attempted to exit the blocked area. As he identified himself as a member of the press, and displayed his press identification, the police officers violently slammed plaintiff to the ground, handcuffed him so tightly as to cause slashes to his wrists, and dragged him to the police vehicle."
Milam claims Johnson had him charged with unlawful assembly, and bail was set at $5,000. But Milam says: "Prior to plaintiff being thrown to the ground and beaten, no unlawful assembly had been declared."
Milam says he posted bail, and police later dropped the charges.
He seeks punitive damages for civil rights violations, battery and negligence.
He is represented by Shelley Kaufman with Geragos & Geragos.
The city did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.