Sheriff investigates reports of injured journalists

The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department is investigating allegations that four journalists were injured by deputies during protests over the “Frisco 5” at City Hall on Friday, Sheriff Vicki Hennessy said Tuesday.

Protesters had gathered at City Hall after news that the Frisco 5 had been hospitalized after fasting for 16 days at the Police Department’s Mission Station to call for the ouster of police Chief Greg Suhr in response to recent police killings, like those of Mario Woods and Luis Gongora.

Hundreds of protesters swarmed City Hall that afternoon and evening, eventually refusing to leave and trying to keep City Hall doors open so more protesters could come inside. That led to chaotic confrontations with sheriff’s deputies where 33 people were arrested.

Reports surfaced this week that four reporters had suffered injuries as deputies were trying to get protesters out of City Hall that night. Hennessy said in a statement today that one of the reporters has filed a complaint with the department.

She said only a handful of the working journalists in the group had an official San Francisco press credential, but said she acknowledged that the credential might not recognize reporters working in online media.

To help solve that issue, Hennessy said she is looking into developing a new credentialing process for reporters covering City Hall.

Friday’s demonstration left City Hall with smashed front windows and destroyed metal detectors. Protesters held another demonstration there on Monday, but deputies largely prevented the group from entering the building that day.