Photographer Beaten p.20

By: M.L. STEIN A SACRAMENTO BEE photographer, who had survived dangerous assignments in Bosnia, Haiti, Panama and Somalia, was brutally beaten by several men while he was shooting hot-weather pictures in a local neighborhood.
John Trotter, 36, was hospitalized in serious but stable condition after the attack, which left him bleeding from head wounds.
Fire crews found him lying unconscious in the street, his assailants gone.
The cameraman was doing a photo story on March 25, a day of record-setting heat in Sacramento. Police detective Bill Tanton said Trotter was taking pictures of children at play when a mother asked him to leave.
He complied, going to a nearby park for more shooting. Tanton said Trotter later returned to the first area and was talking to a resident when a man drove up in a car and demanded his film. But before he could hand it over, according to police, the man began beating him. He was joined by several other men who joined in pummeling the victim.
They fled without taking the film, police said. Officers speculated that Trotter may unwittingly have been photographing drug activity in the area.
"Those involved in drug activities were feeling paranoid about a photographer being around and took it upon themselves to make sure he left," said police spokeswoman Pam Alejandre.
Pictures taken by Trotter were published the next day in the Bee.
"This was a senseless attack on a fine journalist doing his job, not hurting anyone," said Bee executive editor Gregoy Favre. "We just hope that the people responsible for this cowardly act are soon apprehended."
A March 26 Bee editorial described Trotter as a "gentle, unimposing man," who would not knowingly "provoke such anger."
Noting that he had returned unharmed from
his overseas assignments, the paper commented: "That he would come to harm in a Sacramento neighborhood, where he had gone to shoot pictures of children enjoying a particularly lovely and
warm day in early spring, is the most painful kind of irony."
No arrests had been made at this writing.
?(JOhn Trotter) [Photo]


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