We’re not against the police. We’re not against the police department, but we are against police who commit misconduct (and those who help cover it up).
The geniuses on the 10th floor over at the Los Angeles Police Department have developed a new policy on how the Department is going to deal with Angeleno’s who choose to exercise their first amendment right to free speech and to assemble.
After Wednesday’s debacle that saw the arrest of some 140 protesters in downtown Los Angeles on 6th and Hope, including myself, my sources tell me that the Department has come up with a solution to the cries that demonstrators weren’t given a dispersal order before being arrested.
Going forward, as witnessed this evening in the Westlake District where some 8 to 15 people were arrested on Beverly and Alvarado Boulevards, after the Department declares a protest an unlawful assembly, they will corral protesters into an area, box them in, and then detain them. Prior to being released, the Department has ordered officers to read each person a dispersal order, complete a field interview card (FI card), and run each protester’s name through the system to check for warrants. Those who choose not to leave after the order is read to them are going to be subject to arrest and those found to have warrants are going to be arrested. A process that is going to keep demonstrators and cops alike tied up for hours. But unlike the cops, protesters won’t be getting paid time and half.
All of this I am told is the new CYA for the Department after it was repeated by hundreds of Angeleno’s that the LAPD arrested protesters and bystanders alike without ever giving a dispersal order at previous demonstrations.
This new policy could be seen as a way to intimidate people from coming together to call attention to the issue of police brutality on the heels of the Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer who killed a Black teenager. It will also likely come into play when the Department releases the autopsy report of Ezell Ford, a 25-year-old Black man killed by the LAPD in August, as more protests are bound to take place.
Human rights attorney and Cal State L.A. Pan African studies professor Attorney Nana Gyamfi says that the LAPD has switched tactics to reduce its burden resulting from unlawful arrests while increasing the amount of information that it has on people it considers to be anti-police.
“What is clear is that during these protests, the LAPD, despite their assurances was not ready for the large number of people who took to the streets,” she says. “So it’s now catch, tag (violate) and release.”
Attorney Gyamfi says that protesters should not be deterred by the LAPD’s latest shenanigans. If arrested, protesters are only required by law to give their name and address to the police. After that they should assert their right to silence and not consent to anything.
With over 379 arrests, as of now Los Angeles leads the nation in arrests of protesters protesting police brutality and what many people see as state sponsored killing and terrorism of Black and brown people.