We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Some of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

FAIR ACTION ALERT-Media Unconcerned as LAPD Attacks Peaceful Crowd, Harasses IMC

by FAIR Friday, Aug. 18, 2000 at 7:55 PM

FAIR'S Latest Alert, 8/16

August 16, 2000

On Monday, August 14, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) stepped up its assault on free speech rights, using the pretext of a bomb scare to shut down the Independent Media Center's (IMC) satellite cast and, later the same night, turning a peaceful, legal concert and rally into what the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has called "an orchestrated police riot."

Cops Crash Newscast

There has been virtually no mainstream coverage of the LAPD's interference with the IMC's "Crashing the Party," a live independent news show hosted by Laura Flanders which is being broadcast nationwide via satellite during the convention. According to Free Speech TV, one of the groups producing the show, Monday's broadcast of "Crashing" was prevented when the LAPD closed the parking lot outside the IMC and evacuated the show's satellite van, ostensibly in response to a bomb threat.

Representatives from the IMC point out that the police action began just as "Crashing" was about to air and ended 10 minutes after the satellite broadcast window for the show had closed (Village Voice, 8/15/00). According to a report on the IMC web site, police told a member of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) that they had received the bomb tip that morning. Yet police did not take action until late afternoon, just before the show was scheduled to begin. The IMC report also states that the NLG's Ben Rosenfeld witnessed the county police searching the van "without waiting for the bomb squad to arrive," and that "for a time, the bomb squad refused to come to the scene, citing insufficient evidence."

This incident raises serious questions about whether the LAPD was targeting members of the independent media for harassment, and should ring alarm bells for journalists everywhere.

The Raging Machine

Similarly, mainstream media response to the police violence after Monday night's Rage Against the Machine concert has been, by and large, dangerously misleading.

Eyewitnesses from the IMC, the ACLU and the NLG report that the gathering of 8,000 to 10,000 concert-goers and activists was peaceful until a few people on the fringe of the crowd began throwing debris at police. The IMC's Jennifer Joos witnessed the incident from the balcony of the Staples Center, and estimates that no more than 15 to 20 people out of several thousand were involved in throwing objects. "They were isolated and not inciting the rest of the crowd," says Joos.

According to the ACLU, rally organizers tried to defuse the confrontation and offered to end the concert themselves. Police refused their assistance, instead declaring the assembly unlawful, ordering the crowd to disperse, and eventually firing on the crowd with a variety of weapons, including rubber-jacketed bullets, pepper spray and "bean bag" guns.

The ACLU has called the events a "police riot" characterized by "extreme use of force and undifferentiated attacks on a crowd of people" Though the exact number and severity of injuries to civilians is still unknown, the ACLU reports that "numerous legal observers and members of the media were assaulted by the LAPD," and that the LAPD dispersed at least one team of legal observers "for no other reason than to eliminate witnesses to LAPD misconduct" (ACLU letter to the Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney, 8/15/00). The ACLU filed suit today against the LAPD for singling out members of the media "for attack" on Monday night.

This very serious evidence of police misconduct has been obscured in many mainstream reports by references to the "violence" of protesters and misinformation about the size and nature of the disturbance that the police responded to with such force.

In one article, the Washington Post (8/15/00) referred to Monday's peaceful marches as "a rollicking daylong siege" and falsely stated that "a few hundred protesters" were involved in throwing debris at police officers before the LAPD opened fire on the crowd. The Post article does not mention any complaints that the police action may have violated civil liberties. In fact, the article's only reference to protesters' criticism of the police is the paper's contention that earlier in the day "demonstrators tried to provoke officers... into showing less restraint" by chanting "pigs" at them.

Likewise, USA Today incorrectly reported that "several hundred people" threw objects at the police (8/15 and 8/16/00). Describing the incident as a protester "rampage" in one report (8/16/00), the paper claimed (8/15/00) that "the downtown peace was kept largely because of the enormous presence of police."

The Associated Press made the same error and even compounded it, stating in several stories that "hundreds of demonstrators threw rocks and fired steel balls from slingshots at police" (8/15/00). Garrick Ruiz, an organizer and spokesperson for the D2K coalition, witnessed the incident and has been collecting reports about it; he says he neither saw nor heard any evidence of any steel balls or slingshots being used by protesters.

The New York Times was more accurate in its account of the number of people throwing debris, but repeated the claim that "ball-bearings" were shot at police (8/16/00). The Times did note that the LAPD has been criticized on civil liberties grounds, but states that "early reviews [of police performance] are mixed," though the only positive reviews the paper cites in its two most recent articles on the subject are from the LAPD itself and a Gore campaign aide. No representatives of the ACLU have been quoted by the Times, and articles have focused on the challenges faced by the LAPD, even noting that "police had to contend with second-guessing on the street" (8/16/00).

The New York Times (8/16/00) also featured an article headlined "Protesters With No Message Except, 'Let's Not Go Home'," which characterized events after the Rage concert as "a standoff between police officers who want to go home and young people who don't." Dismissing the activists as "excitable rock fans" who make trouble because they "want to be entertained," the article called police attempts to handle the situation "ingenious."

ACTION Please contact national and local media and ask them to cover the LAPD's interference with the IMC's satellite cast. Urge them to seriously investigate charges from the ACLU and others that the LAPD has committed numerous civil liberties violations, and to correct any inaccurate reports they have run about protester violence.

As always, please remember that your comments are taken more seriously if you maintain a polite tone. Please cc fair@fair.org with your correspondence.


Washington Post mailto:ombudsman@washpost.com

USA Today mailto:editor@usatoday.com

Associated Press mailto:info@ap.org

New York Times mailto:letters@nytimes.com


Feel free to respond to FAIR ( fair@fair.org ). We can't reply to everything, but we will look at each message. We especially appreciate documented example of media bias or censorship. And please send copies of your email correspondence with media outlets, including any responses, to us at: fair@fair.org .

FAIR ON THE AIR: FAIR's founder Jeff Cohen is a regular panelist on the Fox News Channel's "Fox News Watch," which airs which airs Saturdays at 7 pm and Sundays at 2 pm (Eastern Standard Time). Check your local listings.

FAIR produces CounterSpin, a weekly radio show heard on over 120 stations in the U.S. and Canada. To find the CounterSpin station nearest you, visit http://www.fair.org/counterspin/stations.html .

Please support FAIR by subscribing to our bimonthly magazine, Extra! For more information, go to: http://www.fair.org/extra/subscribe.html . Or call 1-800-847-3993.

You can subscribe to FAIR-L at our web site: http://www.fair.org , or by sending a "subscribe FAIR-L enter your full name" command to LISTSERV@AMERICAN.EDU . Our subscriber list is kept confidential.

You may leave the list at any time-- just send a message with "SIGNOFF FAIR-L" in the body to: LISTSERV@AMERICAN.EDU .

FAIR: (212) 633-6700


E-mail: fair@fair.org

list administrators: FAIR-L-request@american.edu

Report this post as:

© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy