Sunday, August 5, 2007

Police protect Villaraigosa from reporters

Who's affair won't leave him alone?

That would be LA's dandy mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa. As soon as the talk turns to Miraltha Salinas, the mayor's mistress, the police force them back.

A few minutes later, however, Villaraigosa got another example of how this story continues to live on and drag more people into its messy web. As Villaraigosa began to leave, Los Angeles Port Police formed a phalanx to keep the media at bay. "How come we're not allowed to talk to him?" one reporter demanded.

When the police line relaxed, the journalists started chasing after the mayor, who usually permits camera crews and reporters to follow him to his city vehicle. Leading the charge was an Azteca America TV reporter, Alicia Unger, who tried to dash ahead of one plainclothes officer only to have him push her into a 20-foot cargo container.

"That's wrong," a television reporter screamed at the officer, Port Police Sgt. Kevin McCloskey. "You can't hit a woman like that," another reporter told him.

The shoving incident was videotaped by several cameramen, but the best angle was captured by Telemundo's KVEA-TV Channel 52, the same station where Salinas in June sat in the anchor chair and delivered the news that Villaraigosa's 20-year marriage was falling apart. The 35-year-old newscaster did not disclose to viewers that she was dating the mayor.

A few hours after Friday's shoving incident of Unger, who is a reporter for KAZA-TV Channel 54, Port Police Chief Ronald Boyd said that he had launched an investigation into the actions of his sergeant. Boyd declined to comment on whether McCloskey violated department policy by pushing the reporter against a cargo container.