Berkeley Storm Troopers: Don’t Write What The Police Don’t Like or Else

-By Warner Todd Huston

If police chiefs send armed officers to a journalist’s door because he didn’t like what was written abut him, would you feel just a tad uncomfortable as an American at the audacity? This is no academic discussion because it really happened. Not in what liberals may claim is the dangerous, intolerant south but instead in the heart of liberal land itself, Berkeley, California.

Worse, one of the reasons this whole situation arose is because police were too distracted by an Occupy Berkeley protest to respond to an incident that ended up in the murder of a 67-year-old resident.

But first, on Friday, Feb. 9, Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan sent an armed officer to the door of Bay Area News Group reporter Doug Oakley at nearly one in the morning to demand that he publish a correction about something the reporter had written about the Berkeley police department.

The Oakland Tribune notes that reporter Oakley at first thought there was a death in his family or some emergency when he opened the door to a policeman at 12:45 AM but was shocked when the officer presented the reporter with the chief’s demands for changes in a published article.

First Amendment activists are not amused by the chief’s intimidation tactics:

Meehans’s actions were “despicable, totally despicable,” said Jim Ewert, general counsel of the California Newspaper Publisher’s Association. “It’s the most intimidating type of (censorship) possible because the person trying to exercise it carries a gun.”

Chief Meehan has been under fire for what residents feel was his “slow response” to the murder of Berkeley homeowner Peter Cukor who was murdered by a man with mental problems as the victim’s wife watched in horror. Mr. Cukor had initially called the Berkeley police on a non-emergency line when he saw someone skulking around on his property.

Police did not respond to the non-emergency call as officers were busy policing an Occupy Berkeley protest.

After a verbal altercation with the man, Mr. Cukor walked to a nearby fire station for help, but the firemen were out on a call and not at the station. On his way back home, Mr. Cukor was attacked and beaten to death by 23-year-old Daniel DeWitt, the grandson of Alameda’s first black mayor.

Police responded immediately to Mrs. Cukor’s 911 call, but were too late to save Mr. Cukor’s life.

This story highlights so many problems in liberal America. Firstly, Mr. Cukor lost his life because he couldn’t defend himself in his own home and had to rely on police that never arrived in time to prevent his murder.

Secondly, we see the Occupy movement tangentially responsible for that murder by monopolizing city resources and preventing police from serving the rest of the community.

Thirdly, we see a police official hired by liberals that has the arrogance to imagine that he can send armed officers to journalist’s homes demanding changes to stories written about him. Seems a but tyrannical, doesn’t it?

Of course, as to the second point, one can hardly blame Berkeley police for dedicating so many policemen to any Occupy event. After all, the Occupy Wall Street “movement” has been rife with murders, property damage, and crimes of all sorts.

And liberals say Middle America and the south is dangerous to our collective wellbeing?
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

Copyright Publius Forum 2001