I have to tell you that I am pretty much infuriated right now. Yesterday I went to the march against police brutality, which saw about 2000 people in downtown L.A. march from Olympic & Broadway to cop headquarters at Parker Center. Here, where a stage was set up for the victims of police brutality to tell their stories to the demonstrators gathered there, the police decided to go ahead and give us a demonstration of their brutality. They fired rubber bullets into the crowd, hit people with tonfas and charged the crowd repeatedly with police on horses. Apparently a splinter from the march decided to march around Parker Center; this march "around" had originally been allowed by the terms of the march permit, but the Recreation & Parks apparently changed their minds at the last minute and told the organizers this was not permitted. When people decided to do it anyway ... this justified, in the minds of the LAPD, rubber bullets, baton swings, and charging on horseback that destroyed a lawful, peaceful and permitted march.
Was the speech inflammatory? You betcha it was. But that is still protected speech, and what's more, specifically permitted by the Department of Parks & Rec. Had a speaker attempted to incite the crowd to riot with speech, that would be unlawful; but no such speech was made.
Not wanting to make another visit to jail this year, we left when the police started to surround the entire event with riot gear New World Order gestapo soldiers. But here's the rub: I didn't do anything wrong. I didn't provoke a cop, I didn't do shit; I was there. And yet I knew, IN SPITE of the law, that I was in danger of being beaten, shot, persecuted, arrested.
If we accept this, then you may as well use the Constitution for toilet paper, because that's all the use it's gonna have. This is not rhetoric, I'm telling you firsthand, your rights don't mean shit anymore. You better do something about it, if you don't think that's okay. Call the Mayor (213)847-3634; call the LAPD (213)625-3311. Tell them you don't accept the arbitrary abrogation of First Amendment rights. If you don't, who will? Please don't let the Constitution get trampled like this.