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L.B. marchers slam 'police brutality'

by rtf c/o Staff writer Sunday, Aug. 04, 2002 at 9:00 PM

L.B. marchers slam 'police brutality' By Sarah Duffy Staff writer

L.B. marchers slam 'police brutality'

By Sarah Duffy
Staff writer

Long Beach - Families and residents gathered on their lawns, balconies and rooftops Saturday, drawn unexpectedly by the spectacle and deafening beat of traditional Aztec dancers leading a protest down Pacific Avenue.
Between 100 and 150 marchers gathered at 14th Street Park for what turned out to be a peaceful march to Lincoln Park, about 20 blocks away. Protesters called for an end to what they allege is a pattern of police brutality in Los Angeles County, including the Long Beach Police Department.

"It's basically in formation," said Michael Novick, a member of the Long Beach Coalition Against Police Brutality. "We put this on and we're still hoping for people joining and defining the demands of the coalition. We want to be proactive as opposed to reactive."

Edith Pollach, 81, showed up to support the marchers. She recalled her dismay over last year's May Day march, when rubber bullets were used by police against protesters along Ocean Boulevard.

Pollach, a member of the Long Beach Homeless coalition, expressed her concern with police sweeps of the homeless, and noted that some protesters Saturday were cited after they walked diagonally through a crosswalk.

"That's a bit much, don't you think?" she said referring to the tickets written.

Sherman Austin, who says he was "brutalized and wounded" on May 1, 2001, also attended Saturday's rally and used a bullhorn to remind people of what happened a year ago.

The May Day confrontation was marked by masked protesters taunting police who then fired nonlethal pellets. One person was later convicted by a jury for unlawful assembly and wearing a mask with the intent to commit a crime.

Unlike those taking part in last year's May Day protest, Saturday's participants, self-described anarchists and community residents, obtained a city permit for their march and police escorted them along the route.

Officer David Marander said police are concerned about protecting lives and property during any protest.

"Second, we try to make sure the civil rights of the protesters and demonstrators are protected," he said.

But another priority, he said, is to prevent any violent, destructive or unlawful behavior. A dozen police motorcycle officers, and another six officers on bicycles and in squad cars rode alongside marchers as they made the trek to Lincoln Park.

While Marander estimated the crowd at about 100, coalition organizer, Latice Dixon, put the number at between 150 and 200 marchers.

Marander lauded the protesters for "walking the straight path that they were supposed to walk."

There were no injuries and no scuffles during the march, he said. One man was arrested after police learned he had an oustanding warrant for failure to appear for misdemeanor crimes, Marander said.

Protesters paused at Top Valu market on Pacific Avenue in memory of the Jan. 19 fatal police shooting of a knife-wielding schizophrenic Marcella Byrd. Police had been called after the woman allegedly left the market without paying for groceries. She was killed after pulling a knife.
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source rtf Sunday, Aug. 04, 2002 at 9:21 PM
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