I was in the inner arrestee circle in Solidarity Park until the very last minute. I tweeted continually from 9pm until 5.30am, yet I have seven hours of tweets missing from my twitter feed. I was in the Park when the Police came in from within City Hall. They were not violent. Neither were we. They called unlawful assembly.
No bad treatment of protestors occurred while the mainstream media was watching - it was only at the end that this occurred, when the non pool reporters were separated from the pool media, and the reporters not in the pool were shoved and hit by cops.
At this point I left, but other non-pool media refused to leave and wanted to stay reporting on the scene. Jared Iorio, our photographer, stayed for fifteen minutes after me and was hit repeatedly (twice) in the chest with a baton by a policeman until he left Solidarity Park. He joined a group of about 600 people on 1st and Main. After half an hour of being pushed back, the police called an unlawful assembly over the megaphone, and asked us to move or we would be arrested.
Approximately 300 of us walked down 1st towards Los Angeles, leaving 300 left standing by the cops. The police moved in after us, and kettled the 300 left behind. Seeing this, we ran, as a group, a couple of blocks to get away from them, losing people all along the way. Then suddenly a group of police emerged. We were blocked (kettled) in on Alameda between second and first. The police started running towards us - the group was now about 100 people by this point - and everyone ran into a parking lot to escape. The police ran after them and started beating protestors with batons repeatedly as they were running away trying to escape. I saw about ten police hit protestors. I did not get video footage nor photographs as I was running.
Jared, me and three others escaped up first street and ran to Skid Row. None of the protestors I was with had been violent, none had destroyed property, none were even tormenting the police. They were running away from the scene, trying to avoid being kettled by the police. The violence I witnessed was pretty intense. Those cops were pissed and wanted to hurt people. They were running and beating people who were simply RUNNING away, trying to escape!
I sent this to The Guardian and The LA Times just now. It's not well written. But it highlights the frighteningly militant tactics enacted by LAPD tonight. The Media Pool I revealed late last night, written about in this great LA Weekly article, and on the front page of yesterday's Los Angeles Times:
The city's concern about its image was underscored Monday when police announced they would be allowing only a small group of print, television and radio journalists past police lines when the eviction is finally carried out. Police said the rules were to protect journalists from being harmed during the operation.
This media pool drew mainstream media into the inner circle, where they were treated to a display of courteous policing and nonviolence by the police. Even I was impressed by the police. The operation was smooth and efficient and tactical.
Then the pool media was divided from the regular media, and kept in the inner circle. They were not present to witness the brutality and violence enacted by LAPD officers who were kettling and running after protestors in order to beat them outside the park and mainstream media attention. LAPD smoothly kept MSM from witnessing this, and tried to control other media by constant kettling and dividing of the crowd. The Mainstream Media were deliberately obstructed from reporting, and were complicit in their own silencing - as this updated extract from the LA Weekly makes horrifically clear:
Update No. 4: So KCAL9 was running an awesome aerial live stream of the massive deployment of 1,000-plus LAPD officers from Dodger Stadium to City Hall. But then -- get this -- they reportedly stopped the stream because they had "made an agreement with LAPD not to reveal their tactics," and wanted to protect the integrity of the operation.
Tonight was tactical, it was efficient - and it quite clearly violated our First Amendment Rights, not only by violating our right to petition for a redress of grievances, but by manipulating and censoring the media, so that they were unable to cover the violence and abuses being carried out by the LAPD on peaceful protestors not under the MSM's eye.
Tonight has radicalized many people, and highlighted the true nature of City Council, LAPD and Mayor Villaraigosa. Villaraigosa is an expert politician, who has no interest in our grievances, our demands and our movement. He, like so many Angelenos in the Film Industry, only cares about portraying the necessary image to advance his own agenda. When the cameras are turned off, he doesn't need to act anymore. And then the violence and abuse starts.