FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Occupiers say they were at Artwalk to Have Fun and Police Turned it into a Riot
LOS ANGELES – Participants of Occupy LA will submit complaint forms to the Los Angeles Police Commissioners at their weekly Tuesday morning meeting at police headquarters. The complaints cover actions officers took at Thursday’s downtown artwalk including intimidation, being pushed with batons, excessive show of force, injuries, and violations of Rights.
Activists welcome to the public to file complaints for any LAPD misconduct from that night.
Occupiers say police started off with excessive show of force by deploying what appeared to be more than two dozen officers, one dozen on bicycles, five squad cars, and three motor cycles to make the very first arrest of the evening.
The contingent of about 30 Occupiers split up from Pershing Square around 7pm. By 7:15pm LAPD had Occupiers surrounded as they detained Taylor Harrison, one of the only occupiers to get arrested that night.
At 7:21pm, LAPD Officer with Badge # 19855, with a name like Ingaland, told a few officers on the northern end of the group to get people to move south. After a brief announcement, he and other officers begin pushing those on the northern end with their batons.
“Why are you pushing me?” one, preschool teacher asked Officer #19855. He met her question with more aggression. He could be heard screaming at her as he pushed her even harder.
LAPD pushed people into bolted-down garbage cans, parked cars, and into the streets.
Occupiers say this kind of force turned their evening of outreach into an emotionally charged stance for justice and fair treatment.
All Occupiers remained peaceful during this altercation and the entire evening.
“The police acted violent,” says one Occupier pushed by officers with batons raised. “We were there to hand out flyers, talk to people about the chalk arrests and to have a good time”.
At 7:35pm, the police started pulling back after the first arrest, and occupiers started outreach.
However, Occupy activists say that police used excessive show of force for each of the arrests. In addition, participants of Occupy LA say that at least 7 of the 9 vandalism arrests were made before 9pm, long before police in riot gear made it to the scene.
Activists also questions whether LAPD followed policy with using less-lethal weapons and giving dispersal orders.
Occupiers accuse LAPD of trying to intimidate them out of exercising and enjoying their Rights to freedom of speech, artistic expression, and assembly guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Yesterday, an Occupy LA participant wrote an article compiling a list of video clips and photos of the arrests and injuries from Thursday’s Artwalk. The video shows artwalkers getting shot, pushed, kicked, and slammed to the ground.
In the 6 weeks prior to Art Walk, LAPD had made a dozen arrests of Occupiers for chalking. The first arrests began outside of the offices of the Central City Association, a local lobbying group. Participants of Occupy LA have kept an encampment each night from 9pm to 6am in protest of their lobbying efforts.
On Thursday, July 19th, Participants of Occupy LA will take part in a PEACEFUL candlelight vigil to show solidarity for those that were injured, arrested, or mistreated by the LAPD. In addition, Occupiers will be morning the loss of their Rights which, they say, law enforcement and government continue to kill off bit by bit.