Crime & Justice

May Day immigration rally trial drawing to a close

A civil lawsuit brought by three journalists over injuries during an immigration rally in Macarthur Park is nearing completion.

The city of Los Angeles on behalf of the L.A. police department has already settled dozens of complaints worth $13 million. The complaints stem from contact police officers made with protesters and media at a May Day rally in 2007 that turned violent.

Lawyers for Fox 11 camerawoman Patti Ballaz, Fox TV reporter Christina Gonzalez and KPCC reporter Patricia Nazario stressed that city leaders, like the mayor and the chief of police, denounced the use of force in the park that day. They called attention to a massive internal investigation of the LAPD and video showing Nazario retreating from police.

But city attorneys played up other video showing police asking Ballaz and Gonzalez to move out of the skirmish line. The city argues that those women have pre-existing medical conditions for which they're trying to cash in now.

City attorneys said earlier that Nazario carried bricks that were thrown at cops but presented no direct evidence of that; her lawyer called that a shameful, made up story. At issue remains whether the LAPD's use of force was reasonable against these women and if not, how much the journalists should recover if they prevail. The jury will have the case this afternoon.