It is 12:53am and I am exhausted having just ate dinner (thankful that I had a meal to eat and a roof over my head.) I write the following with great hope that story of what happened with LAPD and the peaceful protestors today does not get truly lost within the annals of corporate media.
The local major media news outlets are all reporting that “anarchists” caused the melee by throwing some bottles. First, I would like to pose this question: Are empty plastic water bottles really a threat to anyone let alone police officers in full riot gear? Second, Should there not be some sort of maturity factor involved in officer response and conduct? Third, The “anarchists” as they are so eloquently called (simply because they wear bandannas over their respective faces I assume) were the ones trying to keep the peace. One supposed anarchist was actually pleading with the officers and saying “We are peaceful protestors; we came here for immigrants rights; we are no threat to you; please do not rush; women, children, and men will get hurt; you can disobey orders that do not go with your beliefs.” Who was angry and threw a couple of bottles? The youth of Los Angeles were simply angry and frustrated. They have been dealing with the reality that ICE can rip their families apart at any moment due to legal status. The rumor that ICE was on the scene was also quite persistent hanging high in the back of many minds. Does it justify throwing a couple of water bottles? No; but was it really a threat to the officer’s safety? Please also take note that Police Chief Bill Bratton has reported that “missiles” were thrown. Would you consider an empty plastic water bottle a missile?
Let us now take a look at the side of the coin that the media seems to be purposely under reporting.
The following events are listed in chronological order.
Rampart division officers harass and illegally search and detain a peaceful protestor for 15 minutes because the protestor was documenting the march and had decided to take a photograph of the wrong officers. The protestor is released when a crowd starts to gather and take pictures of the incident. (Please note that event #1 occurred when all was calm and peaceful and the march was slowly winding its way into MacArthur Park)
(Approximately 30 minutes after the first event) Officers start to push a protestor at the corner of Wilshire & Parkview. This results in the Los Angeles chapter of Copwatch quickly moving into action to document the incident. A crowd quickly gathers and the street starts to fill up with people of all ages and backgrounds. A protestor was shown the true force of a police baton in blunt force trauma to the head. Organizers start to plead with people to leave the street for fear that the officers will declare this an illegal assembly because of people being in the street. People remain in the street simply because they are trying to protect those that they love and care for. LAPD was now fully mobilizing at this point getting riot gear ready and forming a defensive block. Bear in mind; this all started with LAPD attacking peaceful protestors. An alert is issued that police have started attacking and pushing a young man on the opposite side of the lake in MacArthur Park. Protestors quickly rush to the scene to try and protect the young man from the officers. Once again plenty of media (Corporate & Indy) are there to document all that occurred. It is at this point that the tide seems to turn; LAPD now seems to be gearing up for something much larger. They start to block off all streets surrounding MacArthur Park. One can see certain officers joking about getting to beat people with their batons. The bicycle officers are moved out of the way. The officers wearing helmets are moved in and form a line. Word gets out that SWAT has mobilized in the southern portion of the park; the fear of women, children, and men getting hurt quickly spreads. Protestors quickly start moving to try and get people to move back to protect the innocent. Protestors continue to plead with LAPD to prevent the use of unnecessary force.
Without an order to disperse or a warning shot all hell breaks loose. LAPD is now firing rubber bullet kisses into a crowd of families gathered for a peaceful cause. LAPD uses absolutely no discrimination in whom they choose to shoot; women, children, men, the homeless, the media, and those whom cannot walk without assistance are not safe. LAPD continues to fire round after round until MacArthur Park starts to resemble a scene in a horror film where the a monster has just showed up and everyone is running for their lives and safety grabbing whatever they could to try to get to a safe place without getting hurt. I was able to witness a community working together in that I saw others rushing in to the rubber bullets to pick up people that they were just meeting for the first time. I saw two protestors picking up a man without a clue of what was going on and explaining that he needed to get to shelter; the protestors carried him to safety, as he could not walk on his own.
At this point it is amazingly clear that the officers on duty are neither protecting nor serving the people; they are simply protecting and serving themselves and their own respective interests. Protestors try to grab some red wooden fencing from the stage truck so that people can hide behind the fencing. The officers on the scene would hear nothing of it; they continued to fire until the protestors were driven into streets near by.
Protestors are now in the near by streets running as fast as possible to get away from the shear brutality being served ice cold. LAPD continues to file in and attack protestors who are still attempting to get to safety.
By roughly 8:00pm most of the protestors have gotten to safety.
LAPD continued to block off streets surrounding MacArthur Park for an unknown amount of time.
Reports of video footage of a protestor being shot three times by an officer at point blank range while they were lying on the ground have surfaced; hopefully the footage will get out.
I just want to point out that despite the tragic end; the march was beautiful and it was filled with people from all backgrounds marching for worker’s rights no matter if they have “legal status” or not. We all should try to understand that worker’s rights have no borders. We all are in this struggle together. We all want to live and enjoy life in peace. We are all human and I think some forget this fact. Sometimes we lose a bit of our humanity and I think that it is time for people to take care of one another. In this world we only have each other. If we do not take care of each other then who will? I think Katrina showed quite well that we cannot rely on our government when it comes to taking care of the people.
Know your neighbor; know your community. Take care of each other. There seems to be no justice in this cold system. Just us.
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