At approximately 9:30 AM today,a handful of activists in association with Global Exchange (An anti-globalization/social justice activist group organizing during the week of the DNC) were harrassed by an overwhelming number of police while setting up an art installation in downtown Los Angeles.
The raid occurred at the First United Methodist Church at 1010 South Flower, a church that had given permission for the art installation to be unloaded in the parking lot. The installation consisted of painted white wood crosses symbolizing the graves of victims of the US Border Patrol/Project Gatekeeper and those who have died trying to cross the US/Mexican border.
The police swarmed the 4-6 team members in 30-50 police cars packed with officers. Witnesses reported seeing over 100 police surround the artists and their crosses. The LAPD initially threatened to enter the church and confiscate the crosses without a search warrant. One of the organizers of the art installation, Ali Starr, was not sure why they were raiding the art project.
The police began to search through the truck holding some of the crosses and also searched the cab of the vehicle. The art group then made a call to a lawyer's collective, the Midnight Special Legal Team. According to sources, the police reported that the artists were in volilation of a city ordinance regarding size and thickness of wood poles for protest signs, in spite of the fact that the crosses were symbolic art pieces being used for an installation, not a protest.
Police eventually left the scene unable to confiscate art or shut down the installation. They did, however, leave a warning that they would remain in the church parking lot as part of the excessive police presence in downtown.