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Cop Watch LA Statement on May Day, 2007

by Cop Watch, LA Sunday, May. 06, 2007 at 6:36 PM
copwatchla@riseup.net 1 (877) 8NO - COPS 235 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Collective statement from Cop Watch Los Angeles. Check out copwatchla.org for info regarding a press conference at the Youth Justice Coalition office on Monday, May 7th.

May Day 2007 Statement

Cop Watch Los Angeles

On May 1, 2007 (May Day), Cop Watch Los Angeles participated in the march and rally organized by MIWON (Multi-Ethnic Immigrant Workers Organizing

Network) in McArthur Park. Our role during the march was to observe and

document police harassment and brutality, and to defend the people in

the community as well, at the request of MIWON organizers. As the police

began their attack on peaceful protestors, Cop Watch Los Angeles and other

community members directed families to safety, acting as a buffer between police and the people.

At no point did Cop Watch LA provoke the mass beating and shooting of

demonstrators that occurred on May 1st. There is no justification for the actions of the Los Angeles Police Department. In some cases, community

members attempted to defend themselves as they were being brutalized,

acting on their human instinct of self-preservation, by throwing water

bottles or food; this level of defense is far removed from the injurious

rubber bullets, beanbags and tear gas being fired indiscriminately into a park filled with thousands of people, including families, children and elders.

The attack commenced when the police disturbed a sacred indigenous ceremony by plowing their motorcycles into the participants. Armed with only angry words, Cop Watch LA members and the community took on a defensive position during the assault and posed no offensive physical threat to the police’s weapons and technology. Cop Watch LA does not control the imagination and will of other young people who want to take any sort of action against the police, or imitate our organization in an undisciplined manner. Our role was to defend those people and stand with them. Members from Cop Watch LA were heard saying, “We need to get children out of here, the police are about to attack.” There is also video footage of members putting their bodies on the line for the people to get them out of harms way.

Many organizations and media outlets have begun to place blame on youth and anarchists, asserting that throwing trash necessitates a full-scale police assault on peaceful protestors and families. Video footage from numerous angles and at several locations clearly discredits those accusations – it is unmistakable that the police are at fault.

Contacts from the Mayor’s office have confirmed that the attack on protestors and the community of Pico Union was pre-meditated due to the desire to test out months of counter-terrorism training and last year’s embarrassment, when the LAPD could not stop the people from taking the streets.

The strategy by the LAPD, the media, and even some “progressive” organizations has been to focus on Cop Watch LA as the direct cause of the May 1st incident is an attempt to get the people on the side of the state and to isolate CWLA from the communities we live in and organize in. This is the same tactics that were used by COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) to destroy organizations like the Black Panther Party, American Indian Movement, and other groups who focused on making fundamental change

in society. Today as we live under the Patriot Act, these tactics of the police state continue to go after anybody who resists the status quo. We hope that organizations and individuals don’t fall into the divide and conquer methods of the state.

The scapegoating of anarchists today is reminiscent of 1886 Chicago Haymarket Square Massacre in the first May Day ever celebrated, where

police instigated a massacre during a worker’s strike. The state blamed the anarchist organizers and railroaded eight innocent people into prison and hung four (while the other committed suicide).

We must also hold the organizers, organizations, and individuals who are

falling into this accountable. We have to stand on the side of the people, not the police state.

The mayor Antonio Villaraigosa found himself in El Salvador, on a trip, while this attacked happened right in the middle of the biggest concentration of Central American people outside of Central America. Then he has the nerve to guarantee Chief William Bratton a second term. They are both responsible for implementing this type of policing and repression that our communities are facing today.

This attack is not unprecedented! It has happened before and will happen

again – until we put a stop to it. In communities where populations are predominantly working class or unemployed people of color, police abuse and harassment is an everyday occurrence. For years, our communities have

struggled to overcome oppression at the hands of those sworn to “protect

and serve.” Still, death tolls and brutality cases continue to climb in the neighborhoods of South Central, Compton, Watts, Pico Union, Maywood and Boyle Heights.

Cop Watch’s main goal is to put an end to the injustices that plague our streets and to oppressive institutions like the Los Angeles Police Department.

We stand on the side of the people and always will.

Cop Watch Los Angeles

May 4, 2007

¡Ya Basta!

Statement Signed and Supported by:

- Youth Justice Coalition

- The Southern California Library for Social Studies & Research

- Revolutionary Autonomous Communities

- Asians for Jericho and Mumia

- Unity Mission to Free the 8...

To be included as a supporter for this statement please contact us at:

copwatchla@riseup.org

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