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Berkeley Police Chief Under Fire For Sending Officer To Reporter’s Home

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A Berkeley Police car. (Berkeley Police Dept.)

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BERKELEY (CBS SF/AP) — Berkeley’s police chief has come under fire after he sent an officer to a newspaper reporter’s home in the middle of the night to demand changes to a story.

Sgt. Mary Kusmiss knocked on Bay Area News Group reporter Doug Oakley’s door around 12:45 a.m. Friday on Chief Michael Meehan’s orders.

Meehan apparently thought Oakley misreported what he said during a public meeting about the police department’s response in a local resident’s beating death.

Oakley said he was shaken by Kusmiss’s visit. First Amendment experts decried it as an attempt at censorship by intimidation.

Meehan has since apologized, calling his actions “overzealous.” He said he didn’t think Oakley would be intimidated or upset since Kusmiss regularly deals with the media.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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