Berkeley Police Chief Sends Cop to Reporter’s Home for Story Correction

Scary story out of Berkeley over the weekend. Local police chief Michael Meehan sent a cop to Bay Area News Group reporter Doug Oakley’s house at 12:45 a.m to try to convince him to change elements of a story. Oakley initially thought a family member of his had been hurt, but was shocked to discover the officer wanted changes to a story that had just been published online. The San Francisco Chronicle has more details:

Oakley, 45, had written a story about a raucous community meeting Meehan attended Thursday. The story, which appeared online late that night, reported that Meehan had apologized for the department’s slow response in connection with the Feb. 18 slaying of Berkeley hills resident Peter Cukor by an intruder on his property.

The report upset Meehan, who said he never apologized for a slow response – which he has steadfastly denied – but instead had said he was sorry he had failed to quickly release information to the public about the slaying….

Oakley said after Kusmiss left, he began shaking and had a panic attack, wondering if Meehan “can do this whenever he’s mad at me, or send someone else who is not as sympathetic as Mary and threaten me.” After changes were made in the story about 7 a.m. Friday, Meehan e-mailed Oakley repeatedly with requests for more alterations, Oakley said.

Oakley says he doesn’t plan to press charges. Berkeley city officials are deciding what action to pursue against Meehan.