KGW tells the Mercury it will "look into" why disturbing footage of a San Francisco police officer attacked with a construction sign during raucous Black Friday protests and looting in that city somehow was edited into at least two recent packages about a lengthy Ferguson protest in Portland over the weekend.
Update 1:05 PM: Right after this post went live, News Director Rick Jacobs called to confirm the footage was mistakenly sucked into KGW's system alongside other social media footage from Portland. He thanked the Mercury for calling the footage to the station's attention, and he said the footage has since been purged. (Although I'll note it's still seen in the clip I've embedded below—as well as mentioned in the online story linked below.)
Update 2:40 PM: The embedded footage below is now inert. The paragraph that erroneously said the attack happened in Portland also has been removed from the link below.
That footage comes about two minutes into the following package giving fresh updates on the fallout of Saturday's looting-free and largely peaceful protest downtown. It comes without any notation that it's not from Portland, falling between footage that really is local. Saturday's march saw police threaten the mass arrest of dozens, lob flash-bang grenades at marchers, and arrest 10—only to see the DA's office immediately decline to press charges. After the protest dozens of people filed complaints with the Independent Police Review Division in the city auditor's office.
In the online report that accompanies the video,
still available as of this morning, KGW goes further and definitively and mistakenly says the attack on the police officer in San Francisco happened in our downtown instead, right before the flash-bangs were thrown.
There were a few violent clashes involving police and protesters Saturday night. Amateur cell phone video taken in front of the downtown Macy's store showed a protester throwing a roadblock sign right at an officer's head, knocking him over. Then another video showed the moment when police used "flash bang" grenades to get people to move back after someone jumped on an occupied police car and threw bottles at police.
(Also? I'm not certain the person who jumped on that car threw bottles at police. I was watching him for most of that encounter, and didn't see anything like it.)
KGW said it would review the footage after I sent it to their attention last night and asked the station how it obtained the footage and whether its staffers made sure it was from Portland before stitching into their broadcasts and web packages. I first saw the footage on Monday night, during the station's broadcast on Channel 32—and it struck me as odd, since it appeared to show an arrest that wasn't one of the 10 announced by the bureau Sunday morning. All 10 of those arrests came during the kettling.
Last night, I saw the cop attack footage show up on a Vine shared on someone's Twitter feed. The Vine's caption says its' from "SF." Bay Area reports say the footage also was on YouTube, and specifically place the attack on that police officer as happening on San Francisco's Market Street.
The demonstrators then headed to Market Street, where the first of five officers was injured. Suhr said the officer was struck in the head and back by a construction sign and suffered soreness to the neck.
This was captured in a YouTube video and showed another officer who attempted to go after the person who threw the sign.
That officer then tripped and suffered abrasions to the hands and legs. The officer was rendered immobile and suffered a finger injury, Suhr said.
It's not hard to see how a mistake was made. The San Francisco attack was near their Macy's. And the flash-bangs in Portland came outside our Macy's, albeit hundreds of miles away. And once juicy B-roll footage makes its way into one package, in the heat of deadline, it's easy enough to keep grabbing it for future packages.
But Saturday was tense enough without inflammatory footage from other cities—where protests have veered into widespread property destruction and violence—shaping people's opinions here. My wife, in fact, said that footage was the only thing she remembered from Monday's broadcast, which was ostensibly focused on protesters filing complaints with the IPR.
I've heard back briefly from KGW's assistant news director, Sally Ramirez, who says she's trying to talk to staffers who collect social media footage for news packages to learn how that footage in particular wound up in their system.