I have enough of a sense of humor to know that Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck got an early Christmas present Wednesday night when Jasmyne Cannick was arrested in the Department’s arrest spree on 6th and Hope in downtown Los Angeles. Ha ha.
But that’s about as far as the laughs go.
Remember that little press conference not that long ago where Chief Beck practically encouraged Angeleno’s to exercise their right to free speech and assemble? Well I guess after two nights of protesters pretty much running circles around both the LAPD and the CHP, he thought better of it and decided to institute a no tolerance policy on Wednesday that culminated in over 100 arrests.
What is particularly buggin’ about Wednesday’s arrests is that the Department via it’s spokespersons are going around and toting a bold faced lie to the media about what happened and why the protesters had to be arrested.
First, at no time on 6th and Hope did the LAPD tell the protesters they needed to disperse, that they were a part of an unlawful assembly, or that they were disturbing the peace. If Beck, Smith or anyone else from the Department tells you otherwise, they are lying. Since I was there for the entire incident, including being arrested and hauled off to jail, I can tell you that for absolute certainty.
I can also tell you that if the Department did at anytime give a dispersal warning to the protesters, I never heard it during the time I was there to observe what was going on.
Those are the facts. Now let’s talk about common sense and the lack of it displayed by the leadership of the LAPD during all of this.
Wednesday’s protest started at 3 p.m. at the Federal Court House in downtown Los Angeles. At 3 p.m. I was nowhere near downtown. Like hundreds of others, I made my way to the area later in the evening.
Many of the night’s protestors joined the protest at various stages as it made its way through downtown Los Angeles. Basically with each intersection the protestors passed, they picked up more and more supporters along the way.
So even if the LAPD had declared the protest was an unlawful assembly at Figueroa and 7th or anywhere else along its route, common sense dictates it would have been impossible for everyone associated with the protest to have heard that message.
To tell the media that all of the protestors knew that there was a dispersal warning that could result in their arrest if ignored, was as much a lie as when Chief Beck said that he didn’t know anything about his daughter’s horse…of course.
When the LAPD decided to stop part of the protesting group in the cul-de-sac at 6th and Hope they should have given the protesters and innocent bystanders, of which their were many, a chance to disperse before placing them all under arrest. That’s what common sense would dictate.
Instead someone somewhere getting paid way too much money came up with the brilliant idea to detain everyone with a heartbeat in the vicinity. That was some straight up bullshit and I’m going to say it just like that.
Without going into too much detail, the most passionate of the protestors escaped the clutches of the LAPD’s Metro Squad while many who weren’t running or walking fast enough ended up being corralled and eventually boxed in.
I was a part of that group because I was so busy live tweeting and taking photos and videos that I wasn’t in front of the moving protest. My bad–I won’t let that happen again.
I really thought that we were going to be held there and ordered to disperse like in previous nights. I was quite shocked when I was told that we were all under arrest.
To be honest, it was also clear that the Department wasn’t prepared to arrest so many people either. It was almost like someone got pissed off, tired and said just arrest them all without really thinking it all the way through.
An example of that would be the fact that they hauled off most of the women to Van Nuys but didn’t have enough female officers to deal with the 60 plus women spread out between two buses that arrived.
The Department’s handling of the arrests was as chaotic as the protests.
I have to say that I wasn’t too surprised when I turned around and saw the Chief Beck not too far behind me casually observing all of us being manhandled and placed in plastic handcuffs.
I think Beck got a certain sense of personal satisfaction in my arrest. And for the record, I made it clear that I wasn’t a protestor and believe me, Chief Beck and his public information officers know good and damn well who I am. I have the press release to prove it, lol. But it’s all good. I’ll deal with that later, but that was a fill-in-the-blank move on his part.
Only in Los Angeles can the police department illegally detain and arrest 130 people and then turn around act like they’re doing those same people a favor by proclaiming they’ll be released in time for Thankstaking dinner. It’s kind of the like the slave owner expecting a thank you for passing on the message to the slaves that they’re free.
I guess the next chapter in this saga will be to see whether or not the city attorney is going to prosecute all 338 arrested for civil disobedience over the past few days. I suspect there will be some organizing efforts around that as many of those arrested have the same court date. That should be interesting.
In the meantime, I don’t see these protests ending anytime soon, so I figure Chief Beck and team will have plenty of opportunities to get it right.
As for the men and women of the Van Nuys jail, I would but I can’t go there right now. It’s too late, I’m tired and it would require a completely separate post to detail all of the atrocities committed last night under your watch, not to mention the nasty ass attitudes from most but not all of ya’ll.
Which reminds me, I need for someone to send me the names of the geniuses in charge Wednesday night in downtown Los Angeles as well as the watch commander’s name at Van Nuys. #BonetoPick
*I’ll be discussing my arrest Friday morning on the Front Page with Dominique DiPrima at 5 a.m. on 102.3FM KJLH in Los Angeles.