LAPD swept through the May Day Immigration Reform Protest at MacArthur Park, causing panic and assaulting attendees and several media spokesman and journalist. It has to be one of the most blatant cases of excessive force used by the LAPD, and was probably recorded by more people than any other example of police misconduct and aggressiveness.
Police began clearing the park after alleged attacks by protesters throwing bottles. Rubber bullets were fired at protesters and journalists, as the police cleared the park with multiple cameras’ rolling, capturing incredible scenes of the confrontation. Fox11 LA, Telemundo and Univision are a few of the news agencies that were present covering May Day.
While Univision reporters were setting up interviews, shoots rang out from the LAPD and batons started swinging. FOX 11's Christina Gonzalez and her videographer, Patti were close by filming and were also assaulted by the police with the camera’s filming everything. There were so many cameras rolling that they all caught each other in a odd panoramic landscape, with bits and pieces showing the entire area from multiple angles.
Several camera men, reporters and media personnel are filmed being hit with batons and having their equipment snatched from their hands and tossed away. The clips of the incident speak for themselves as this small protest was brought to a terrifying end. The Radio and Television News Association is demanding an investigation, and planning on conducting its own investigation.
Chief William Bratton has issued a statement regarding the incident, and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also issued statements, calling the police reactions unfortunate. Villaragosa is in the unenviable position of having to speak on the actions of the LAPD, while he is in El Salvador, meeting with business leaders and discussing ways of boosting revenue in their countries and eliminating gang violence. Instead of answering his planned questions, he will now have to face questions regarding immigration policies and police brutality in his city. The violent reaction by LAPD was surprising for a number or reasons.
The fact that it happened at all, considering the lower than expected numbers of protesters attending, is another odd factor to this story. If the May Day Rally had as many people as was expected, it might have been much worse. Stay tuned for more info on the Los Angeles May Day Immigration Rally protest and police disturbance.
LAPD Assaults Immigration Reform Demonstrators
Photo by Nick Napolitano