Los Angeles: Nearly 200 Arrested Overnight

December 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From a reader:

Beginning late Tuesday night, November 25, the LAPD began mass arrests of protesters in an attempt to get people out of the streets and shut down the protests. By Wednesday morning, there had been nearly 200 arrests, most of them from the night before. People who came out to protest on Wednesday took to the streets to demand the release of all those arrested and to drop all the charges. They stopped in front of the federal detention center, where immigrants and federal prisoners are held, and then marched toward Men's Central Jail chanting "Free the protesters, jail killer cops!" The marchers were blocked by police and not able to march up to the jail, which is filled with Black and brown people who are routinely rounded up and housed there, and which is notorious for vicious brutality by the sheriffs. (The arrested protesters were actually not at the main jail, but sent to three different police stations spread out across the Los Angeles area: Metropolitan downtown, 77th in South Central, and Van Nuys.)

The march then turned to head toward Staples Center, where a Lakers basketball game was about to start. As it got close, an army of police blocked Figueroa Street and then "kettled" the marchers—surrounded them from both sides so nobody could get out. The police locked in about 200 people this way, and then eventually opened one side and let people out. As people tried to regroup, the police worked to separate the marchers from each other by getting ahead of where people were marching and then blocking the way, continually locking them in as people looked for ways to escape their traps and stay in the streets. After protesters had finally broken free from being locked in by the police near the public library, those trying to leave were suddenly blocked by a line of police. Others who had gotten out regrouped and came back to stand with those locked in and demand they be let through. Other people who were just out walking around began to gather across the street as well. The chant "let them through" was taken up on all corners. The police refused to back away and instead surrounded everyone who was on the same corner as those they had locked in and then declared the entire crowd to be under arrest for failure to disperse. Something like 140 to 165 people were arrested.

California highway cops block downtown LA freeway ramp, November 26, 2014

California highway cops block a freeway ramp  in downtown Los Angeles. Nov. 26, 2014.
AP photo


It was a very blatantly illegal arrest, and those arrested as well as the lawyers monitoring it and those watching were all outraged. On Friday, after a press conference denouncing the illegal arrests, another march was kettled and then the police took down the personal information of every single person, ran them for warrants, and one by one released people unless they had a warrant. All this is clearly outright political suppression to try to put a stop to the righteous and defiant protests that have shaken the whole country in the wake of the decision delivered in Ferguson Monday night that put an official stamp of approval on the murder of Black youth. It is illegitimate, illegal, and must be fought as people continue to get into the streets to stop police brutality and murder.

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