Posts Tagged: Raid

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My Experience Being Arrested During the Occupy Los Angeles Raid

Los Angeles

December 4, 2011

To interested parties,

My name is Jerome Berglund and I was one of the nearly 300 arrested by the Los Angeles police department late Tuesday night at the Occupy Los Angeles encampment. 

Myself, along with the vast majority of others present, were not members of the camp, but rather concerned citizens who arrived to show our solidarity with those who were being violently evicted from the grounds. 

My fiancé Cat Doss and I arrived to find a long line of police officers in riot-gear blocking the park, while protesters peacefully expressed indignation as we witnessed them shredding tents and roughly handling occupiers still in the park.  As we observed these outrages, we noticed the police line snaking out around us, until it surrounded the thousands of protesters on three sides. 

At this point a white van pulled up, and from a muffled loudspeaker started addressing the crowd.  Because those who got too close to the police line were snatched up or swung at with batons, we were standing near the back of the group, a good distance from the van and could not hear the announcement coming from it amidst the general cacophony of megaphones and chanting from the protesters.  I recall it was at a low volume, crackling and screeching intermittently.  We approached the line to attempt to hear what they had been saying and one of our peers informed us we had been given ten minutes to disperse. 

At this point we turned and began making or way through the dense crowd toward the exit.  Then suddenly everyone attempting to comply with the LAPD’s instructions were running through the streets frantically in terror and we saw the police fanning out in front of us and a line of them flowing across the way blocking our exit.  Then we found ourselves surrounded on four sides by hundreds of police officers. 

Those boxed in begged the police to be freed, tried to explain that they had been in the process of dispersing when their way was blocked.  When we approached the line of police asking them to be allowed to leave as instructed, they menaced us with their batons, swinging them in our direction until we backed away.  The only ones who managed to disperse were those who disregarded police orders and desperately forced their way through the lines.  Those who obeyed police orders, ironically, were one by one systematically cuffed and charged with failure to disperse.

My fiancé had her phone camera rolling as they moved in on us, and they were very polite until they had pulled it out of hand and shut it off, at which point they violently twisted her arm behind her back.  I will never forget how she shrieked in pain as they savagely manhandled her while applying the plastic cuffs.   Once our hands were painfully wrenched behind our backs and the cuffs were attached far too tightly, we were marched over to the busses and shoved down to the curb where our information was taken and our property bagged and tagged.  While we sat on the curb, we watched police firing rubber-bullets knock a man out of a tree.  Cat attempted to stand up to adjust her cuffs and was brutally shoved back to the curb.  We also witnessed one of the most alarming images I can recall from the evening, a shredded American flag lying in the street, which the police were trampling back and forth over.  They ignored our pleas to remove it from the ground and laughed at us.  Then we were marched onto the busses, and that’s when the real injustices and human rights violations I personally witnessed started.

Around twenty-five arrestees occupied each bus, with one to two people per cage, the quarters so tight we could barely move.  This was made even less comfortable because we had our hands cuffed behind our backs, which allowed no real comfortable way to sit down. Many people’s handcuffs were so tight their hands turned blue and started going numb due to the lack of circulation. As the driver started off, she suddenly slammed on the brakes inexplicably, sending everyone on board crashing headfirst into the grating in front of them.  The officers laughed uproariously at this, and a woman behind me began shrieking that she had knocked out a tooth when her face hit the wall and that she was bleeding profusely.  This sent the bus into an uproar, demanding they give her medical attention.  The officers systematically ignored our pleas as they pulled up to the local jail and exited the bus, turning on the air conditioning full blast.  We sat there freezing, screaming that the woman needed medical attention for approximately an hour.  At this point another woman on the bus got so sick from the chilling temperatures that she began vomiting, which caused several others in the back to follow suit from being in close quarters with the stink of sickness.  When the driver got back on the bus, we begged her to give the two sick women medical attention, and she laughed and turned the music up as loud as she could to drown our voices out.

Apparently they received word the first jail was full, so our bus headed out on the long drive to Van Nuys jail, where we again parked and the officers exited the busses. 

Then the waiting started. 

We sat on the busses for another four hours, unable to relieve ourselves, while some bled and others vomited and several who could not hold it any longer were forced to urinate or defecate in their cages.  The officers who treated us like caged animals popped on occasionally to chuckle at our many humiliations.

Then we were unloaded one by one.  I was the last person on the bus, and by that point the stench was overpowering and I was crouched on top of my seat to avoid the pool of urine that had seeped beneath it.  When I was finally taken off the bus, an officer approached me and asked “Are you healthy?”  When I was later booked, I found out the questions she was supposed to have asked me were “Do you have aids?  Do you have any contagious illnesses?  Do you have any sexually transmitted diseases?” which she apparently paraphrased to “Are you healthy?”, and then checked them all off. 

When we entered the jail, things went from bad to worse.  They confiscated our belts and shoelaces, our pens and watches, and we spent the next several days behind bars unable to write anything or know what time it was.  They separated the males and females, and put us in windowless cells of about twenty occupiers each, staggered between cells of legitimate prisoners.  When the regular inmates began expressing genuine interest in the movement and the ideals behind it, we were promptly whisked away to our own block. 

It’s also worth noting that I shared cells with eight different veterans of varying ages, who had served from Vietnam to Afghanistan.  The age range of arrested occupiers was also diverse, from several minors to a 79-year-old woman who was reduced to tears from how tight her handcuffs were.  Let me also acknowledge that despite the presiding mood of cruelty and barbarism from the vast majority of the police force, there were at least a few officers in the jail who demonstrated remarkable humanity and expressed hushed sympathy toward our cause and were apologetic they were being forced to treat us in this matter for political reasons.  

Ironically, considering the camp was purportedly shut down for unhygienic conditions, the jails themselves were wildly unsanitary.  Twenty or more prisoners were sharing two toilets, forced to use them in full view of their fellow occupants, and we had no soap to wash our hands with.  We were denied soap, toothpaste, and deodorant.  The women, many of whom were on the same cycle and menstruating, were initially denied tampons.  Others were refused their birth control medication and they began menstruating as well.  Thankfully after much begging they were eventually given pads.  One female occupier came down with a urinary tract infection, and was refused medical attention.

We were shuffled from cell to cell every couple hours in a musical chairs of sorts, carrying a blanket and sheet with us to use on our bunks.  The mattresses on these bunks stunk, and several occupiers witnessed bed bugs on them.  The water was undrinkable, with a disgusting tang of chlorine, and the food was highly suspect.  Old apples, questionable half-frozen turkey sandwiches, tepid milk.  Apparently once at 4:00am people were given the option to shower and share a toothbrush, but I did not witness this personally and no one in my cell was able to get a shower.  Once a nurse came through and distributed some Advil, but otherwise everyone was categorically denied any sort of medical attention, which became a very pressing issue during the later portions of the incarceration.

Near the end our time at the Van Nuys jail about a third of the occupiers were violently ill and vomiting.  It is unclear which of the manifold hygienic issues listed above was the cause, but the fact that they consolidated the prisoners into bigger and bigger cells, essentially petri dishes, and refused to separate the sick did not help things.  When we finally left chained in four man lines, I had a sick person on each side of me, one of which spent the entire bus ride to court vomiting into a plastic bag.

And this brings us to the most alarming moment of my time in the Van Nuys jail.  We spent the day they were preparing to ship us to court caring for our sick and lobbying for them to receive medical attention.  When the busses arrived, the driver came in and addressed us.  Four people were huddled around the toilet at that point taking turns vomiting.  He told them if they wanted medical attention they would have to remain at jail over the weekend and be arraigned on Monday.  This apparently was no idle threat, as one of the female occupiers ended up doing just that.  Under threat of their release being delayed, every sick occupier I was with got on that bus.

When we arrived at the courthouse we were met by sheepish grins and apologies from the officers present.  They explained that we were being held for political reasons to be made examples of and reiterated what we had been hearing from our lawyers the entire time, that in California those charged with misdemeanors are traditionally released immediately on their own recognizance and that if you have not been arraigned within 48 hours you have to be released within 72 hours.  As the 72-hour mark was rapidly approaching and none of us had as of yet been arraigned, we braced ourselves and waited for the timer to buzz.  And buzz it eventually did, at which point the bulk of us were released with apologies and no black marks in the slightest marring our records.

Let me also call attention to a policy at the courthouse jail that deserves some attention.  When we came off the bus, the first thing they told us was “black prisoners in this room, white and Hispanic prisoners in that room.”  When we balked at this, they chuckled and said proudly that segregating inmates was “what we do”.

This is as absurd as it is comical.  As if race would be an issue between these fellow occupiers!  Until becoming close with my fellow incarcerates I have never before felt such a sense of camaraderie, purpose and powerful positive energy.  One of the most inspiring things about this movement is how it has allowed people of all colors and creeds and economic backgrounds to band together towards a common goal. 

The mainstream media has done everything in their power to brand occupiers as disgruntled homeless people, as pot-smoking jobless hippies, as violent anarchists in V For Vendetta masks playing the bongos in a drum circle.  These attempts to vilify and miscast the face of this movement could be no further from the truth.  The occupiers I met were generally employed, articulate, sober, college-educated, peaceful people not unlike myself.  Even when faced with brutal suppression from the LAPD, they categorically abstained from ANY form of violent resistance, chanting the ubiquitous  “we are peaceful” slogan like a mantra. 

Coverage in the press seems to be attempting to persuade the public the occupy movement is over.  Don’t be convinced.  This week’s events, if anything, have only fanned the flames.  Occupiers are going to grow in numbers in every major city in the world until their demands are addressed and these wrongs are righted.  What wrongs you may ask?  A very valid question, because as you may have noticed the media has gone out of their way to almost categorically ignore what these people are actually rallying for.   

Naomi Wolf sums it up well in her article in “The Guardian”:

l   The No 1 agenda item: get the money out of politics. Most often cited was legislation to blunt the effect of the Citizens United ruling, which lets boundless sums enter the campaign process.

l   No 2: reform the banking system to prevent fraud and manipulation, with the most frequent item being to restore the Glass-Steagall Act – the Depression-era law, done away with by President Clinton, that separates investment banks from commercial banks. This law would correct the conditions for the recent crisis, as investment banks could not take risks for profit that create fake derivatives out of thin air, and wipe out the commercial and savings banks.

l   No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors.

Not exactly unreasonable, right?  I can’t fathom how anyone who doesn’t have a vested interest in these corrupt practices would take issue in the slightest with them being redressed.

If you would like to express your disgust and indignation with the way the Los Angeles Police Department treated their detainees, on the human rights violations and lack of decency we suffered at their hands under the explicit orders of Mayor Villaraigosa, I encourage you to mail him the soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, tampons, pillows, toilet paper and other basic hygienic items we were denied so future unjustly incarcerated persons in his jails aren’t subject to the unsanitary conditions he claimed to find so deplorable in the occupy camp.         

His mailing address is:

Honorable Antonio Villaraigosa

Mayor of Los Angeles

200 N. Main St. Rm 303

Los Angeles, CA 90012

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Unlawful Assembly California Penal Code Sections 407, 408, 409

UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLY PENAL CODE SECTIONS  
California Penal Codes Sections 407, 408, and 409
(Failure to disperse, Order to disperse, Unlawful Assembly)
by Sue Basko
Many of the Occupy L.A. protesters were arrested under Section 409.  
Please read below. 
CLICK HERE TO See the Full Sections 403 - 420.1
407.  Whenever two or more persons assemble together to do an
unlawful act, or do a lawful act in a violent, boisterous, or
tumultuous manner, such assembly is an unlawful assembly.



408.  Every person who participates in any rout or unlawful assembly
is guilty of a misdemeanor.



409.  Every person remaining present at the place of any riot, rout,
or unlawful assembly, after the same has been lawfully warned to
disperse, except public officers and persons assisting them in
attempting to disperse the same, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE READ:
UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLY
California Penal Codes Sections 403- 420.1
Kettling: What is it?
Source: occupypeace.blogspot.com
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Lawrence’s Testimony about the OLA Raid.

Source: ustream.tv
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Ruth Sarnoff’s Testimony about the OLA Raid.

Source: youtube.com
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Meghan’s Testimony about the OLA raid

Source: youtube.com
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Occupy LA testimonies from those who were present and / or arrested at the Occupy LA raid on Wednesday, 30 November, 2011.

Source: youtube.com
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A hacker group affiliated with Anonymous has claimed responsibility for posting the personal information of more than 40 members of the Los Angeles Police Department’s command staff. A member of the group said in a chat with KPCC Wednesday evening it put the information up because of the LAPD’s “violent oppression” in clearing the Occupy LA encampment. Police said Thursday the majority of the officers listed were not involved in the Occupy LA clearing operation and some were retired.

The hacker group @CabinCr3w sent out a Twitter message Dec. 5 that police said provided information on officers’ backgrounds, home addresses, campaign contributions, property records, and in some cases, the names of family members, including children.

Police initially said the list included 25 members of the LAPD, but a review by KPCC showed that 44 officers had information posted on them that ranged from minimal information such as an email address or their rank, to more personal details including family members names, a person’s online resume, home values and phone number.

Nine of the officers listed were involved in the LAPD operation to clear Occupy LA, either helping plan, supervise or assisting on scene the night of the operation. Seven of those listed have been retired, and along with the remaining 35, were not involved in the raid.

The tweet is still viewable, but the referenced link is no longer active. The information was taken down on Wednesday, but the group later reposted it under a new link.

In a tweet sent at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday the group said “Funny that @LAPD is “looking” for who posted their info…not like we hid that we did it. Y U NO EXPECT US?”

Funny that @LAPD is “looking” for who posted their info… not like we hid that we did it. Y U NO EXPECT US?
Dec 08 via TweetDeckFavoriteRetweetReply

LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said the department did ask for the information to be removed and CabinCr3w said the group did not remove it.

The group said their actions were a response to the LAPD raid on the Occupy LA encampment and their treatment of protesters.

"It all comes from those [LAPD] actions, and how the protesters are now being treated like criminals for practicing a fundamental right," a member of CabinCr3w wrote to KPCC in an online chatroom.

Smith said the majority of those listed on site were not involved in clearing the Occupy LA encampment and a few have been retired.

"They’re private citizens trying to live their lives in peace after serving 30 years," Smith said. "Now somebody throws all their personal information into the public forum. Most of those people were not involved in the Occupy LA clearing…They just got ahold of random police officers, and some random civilians who had nothing to do with that."

At 8 a.m. Thursday the group sent out a tweet saying: “Now that we have the attention of the #LAPD maybe u should look into ways to treat protesters better, WE are humans not garbage.”

Smith said the department had worked hard to give protesters ample notice and avoid arresting people.

"There’s always going to be one or two people who are upset about something," Smith said. "But gosh, we gave everybody a chance to disperse. We begged people to clear the Occupy area so we didn’t have to arrest anybody."

The member of CabinCr3w said “the bay knows us from OpBART.” In August, Anonymous shut down four Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) stations in San Francisco after BART police decided to shut cell phone service to prevent a planned protest against the shooting death of Charles Hill, a homeless man killed by BART police officers in July. BART officials said the protests would lead to platform overcrowding and unsafe conditions.

The information on the LAPD brass was put on the site “Sticky Paste,” a copy and paste sharing site anyone can post onto without an account. The site owner, Eric, who declined to give his full name, created the site less than a year ago and said he did not know anything about CabinCr3w.

Eric said he does not regularly maintain “Sticky Paste.” He said he had no idea the group posted LAPD information on his site. He runs the site from New Jersey and said he noticed strange code on it a couple months ago, but did nothing about it. “On the website now, I see a whole bunch of spam,” Eric said.

Smith said he cannot confirm if the group posted the information, but gathering and publishing such public information is legal. It is, however, a safety concern for officers and their family, Smith said.

"It’s a creepy thing to do, but it’s not against the law to cull something from a website," Smith said. He said the department may attempt to email or otherwise contact the group.

In a recent Tumblr blog post, the group wrote:


We are the cabin,
we are the 99%.
We do not forgive,
we do not forget.
Expect us!

The member of CabinCr3w said the group culled their information from public sources and is not concerned about what people decide to do with the information they posted. The LAPD said the information appears to have come from public records, Web searches and the LAPD website.

"We are just exposing the powers at [sic] be that get to sit a [sic] home while peaceful protesters are getting beat," said a member of CabinCr3w.

Smith called the incident “unfortunate.”

"We deal with a lot of bad people in this department…and bad people sometimes hold a grudge," Smith said. "Why would somebody put that together? I can think of no good reasons to want to do that, but I can think of a lot of bad reasons…Anybody can reach anyone in our department by phone, email or by sending a letter."

When asked why they posted the names of LAPD command staff’s family members, a member of CabinCr3w said: “The protesters have family that is being effected [sic] by their actions.”

An LAPD officer surfing the Web Tuesday stumbled upon the link that led to the group’s website listing 25 officers including captains, commanders, deputy chiefs, a sergeant and civilian employees of the department, Smith said.

CabinCr3w said the group was continuing to monitor official response to Occupy and will “expose” those responsible for evicting protesters. On its Tumblr site the group ties itself to the 99%; a member of CabinCr3w said Wednesday: “we will not go down without a fight.”

"We don’t do things for ‘the lulz’ we do things because real peoples rights are being taken away. We live in a world that people are sitting idle while their freedom is being stripped…The government wants to stop this movement, we have reached a turning point, and we are recording the wrongdoings along the way."

This story was updated from an earlier version posted at 5:38 p.m. Wednesday, which first reported a link to Anonymous.

Tami Abdollah can be contacted by email and Twitter (@LATams).

Source: scpr.org
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The members of an interfaith group of clergy who ministered to Occupy Los Angeles protesters throughout the two-month occupation of the lawn around Los Angeles City Hall are objecting to what they call a distressing “level of violence and brutality” used by the 1,400 Los Angeles Police Department officers who cleared the encampment from City Hall Park in the early morning hours of Nov. 30.

“Occupiers were pushed and hit and corralled and hunted down by police in a military fashion,” the Occupy L.A. Interfaith Leaders Support Network wrote in a letter delivered to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Dec. 1.

“The mayor and police chief are patting themselves on the back because we are in Los Angeles and no one went to the hospital,” said Rabbi Aryeh Cohen, an associate professor at American Jewish University who signed the letter. 

“People were knocked over, pushed around, pushed with batons, chased down, corralled,” Cohen said, citing reports about police violence that were related to him by other members of the interfaith group who witnessed part of the police action. “It was kind of a ‘shock and awe’ operation, designed to terrorize the people that were there — and it worked. In that way, it worked.”

In addition to objecting to the tactics used against protesters by police officers, the letter from the group of priests, imams, ministers, rabbis and other faith leaders called the city’s decision to hold the 292 nonviolent protesters arrested on Nov. 30 in jail on $5,000 bail “unacceptable.”

The Christian, Muslim and Jewish clergy established a presence at the encampment very early on. Every Wednesday morning, they met at the Interfaith Sanctuary at a structure that began its life as a sukkah. 

The group objected to the protesters’ being held on $5,000 bail, which, for many, Cohen said, represents an impossible sum of money to procure.

In addition to ministering to the occupiers through a variety of actions — including a Black Friday Interfaith Service held at the encampment the morning after Thanksgiving — some members of the Occupy L.A. Sanctuary also played a role in facilitating meetings between the mayor’s office and the leaders of Occupy L.A. in the days and weeks before the closure of the encampment.

When Villaraigosa first announced on Nov. 23 that the occupiers would be removed on Nov. 28 at 12:01 a.m., the interfaith group wrote to him,  asking for additional time — “weeks not days” — to allow the Occupy L.A. group to transition out of City Hall Park in a peaceful and democratic manner. That earlier letter, the text of which was posted on the Occupy L.A. Sanctuary blog on Nov. 25, was signed by 179 clergy members, and it got the mayor’s attention.

On the morning of Nov. 28, hours after the initial deadline to vacate was allowed to pass, a group of 14 clergy and laypeople calling themselves “the interfaith affinity group of Occupy L.A. supporting the occupation” met with Villaraigosa to make the case for calling off or delaying the removal of the encampment.

The mayor, however, did not budge. “Mayor Villaraigosa seemed very receptive to the ideas of the Occupy movement, even as he said the encampment needed to end, that that had become no longer sustainable,” said Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater of the Pasadena Jewish Temple & Center, who was among those at the Nov. 28 meeting.

In the end, the eviction went forward, and only the police, the Occupy protesters and a select group of reporters pre-approved by LAPD got to watch it from start to finish. A number of clergy members, Cohen said, had reached an agreement with the incident commander on the scene on Tuesday night, in advance of the LAPD raid, that should have allowed them to witness the arrests of any protesters.

That deal was broken.

“Clergy were not allowed entrance to the park during the crucial period in which they could have been helpful to occupiers who had not previously decided to be arrested,” the interfaith leaders wrote in their letter to Villaraigosa.

For his part, Cohen didn’t make it anywhere near the Occupy L.A. encampment in advance of the LAPD officers storming into the park early Nov. 30, and neither did Grater. Both were stopped in different spots by LAPD officers who had established a blocks-wide cordon around City Hall in an effort to keep the numbers of protesters in the encampment from swelling.

After being turned back, Cohen headed home and kept track of developments from there, but Grater remained at the spot where the LAPD line stopped his progress, at the corner of Main and Aliso streets. More and more people kept arriving, until the crowd numbered about 150 people, he said.

When a few large buses filled with police officers approached the intersection where the group of would-be Occupy L.A. protesters was massed, Grater said, the protesters “decided to sit down in front of the buses in the intersection and started singing. They were not going to let those buses go through.”

“The police exited the buses and were standing there,” he continued. “It was about a 20 minute face-off, and in the end, the buses backed up and found another way around. A lot of police officers walked.”

Even at those moments, when the potential for a conflict was most palpable, Grater said, the protesters held fast to Occupy L.A.’s commitment to keep their protest activities nonviolent.

“A lot of them were chanting, ‘Police need a raise, police need a raise,’ ” Grater said. “There was not much animosity.”

Although the faith leaders had failed to convince the mayor to allow Occupy L.A. more time to work things out using its democratic process, the advance notice given was sufficient to ensure that the sanctuary’s structure — a sukkah that belongs to Rabbi Jonathan Klein of CLUE-LA — could be retrieved before police dismantled the camp.

“Jonathan has it,” Grater said. “He took it down.”

Source: jewishjournal.com
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I was in the inner arrestee circle in Solidarity Park until the very last minute. I tweeted continually from 9pm until 5.30am, yet I have seven hours of tweets missing from my twitter feed. I was in the Park when the Police came in from within City Hall. They were not violent. Neither were we. They called unlawful assembly.

No bad treatment of protestors occurred while the mainstream media was watching - it was only at the end that this occurred, when the non pool reporters were separated from the pool media, and the reporters not in the pool were shoved and hit by cops.

At this point I left, but other non-pool media refused to leave and wanted to stay reporting on the scene. Jared Iorio, our photographer, stayed for fifteen minutes after me and was hit repeatedly (twice) in the chest with a baton by a policeman until he left Solidarity Park. He joined a group of about 600 people on 1st and Main. After half an hour of being pushed back, the police called an unlawful assembly over the megaphone, and asked us to move or we would be arrested.

Approximately 300 of us walked down 1st towards Los Angeles, leaving 300 left standing by the cops.  The police moved in after us, and kettled the 300 left behind. Seeing this, we ran, as a group, a couple of blocks to get away from them, losing people all along the way. Then suddenly a group of police emerged. We were blocked (kettled) in on Alameda between second and first. The police started running towards us - the group was now about 100 people by this point - and everyone ran into a parking lot to escape. The police ran after them and started beating protestors with batons repeatedly as they were running away trying to escape. I saw about ten police hit protestors. I did not get video footage nor photographs as I was running.

Jared, me and three others escaped up first street and ran to Skid Row. None of the protestors I was with had been violent, none had destroyed property, none were even tormenting the police. They were running away from the scene, trying to avoid being kettled by the police. The violence I witnessed was pretty intense. Those cops were pissed and wanted to hurt people. They were running and beating people who were simply RUNNING away, trying to escape!

I sent this to The Guardian and The LA Times just now. It’s not well written. But it highlights the frighteningly militant tactics enacted by LAPD tonight. The Media Pool I revealed late last night, written about in this great LA Weekly article, and on the front page of yesterday’s Los Angeles Times:

The city’s concern about its image was underscored Monday when police announced they would be allowing only a small group of print, television and radio journalists past police lines when the eviction is finally carried out. Police said the rules were to protect journalists from being harmed during the operation.

This media pool drew mainstream media into the inner circle, where they were treated to a display of courteous policing and nonviolence by the police. Even I was impressed by the police. The operation was smooth and efficient and tactical.

Then the pool media was divided from the regular media, and kept in the inner circle. They were not present to witness the brutality and violence enacted by LAPD officers who were kettling and running after protestors in order to beat them outside the park and mainstream media attention. LAPD smoothly kept MSM from witnessing this, and tried to control other media by constant kettling and dividing of the crowd. The Mainstream Media were deliberately obstructed from reporting, and were complicit in their own silencing - as this updated extract from the LA Weekly makes horrifically clear:


Update No. 4: So KCAL9 was running an awesome aerial live stream of the massive deployment of 1,000-plus LAPD officers from Dodger Stadium to City Hall. But then — get this — they reportedly stopped the stream because they had “made an agreement with LAPD not to reveal their tactics,” and wanted to protect the integrity of the operation.

Tonight was tactical, it was efficient - and it quite clearly violated our First Amendment Rights, not only by violating our right to petition for a redress of grievances, but by manipulating and censoring the media, so that they were unable to cover the violence and abuses being carried out by the LAPD on peaceful protestors not under the MSM’s eye.


Tonight has radicalized many people, and highlighted the true nature of City Council, LAPD and Mayor Villaraigosa. Villaraigosa is an expert politician, who has no interest in our grievances, our demands and our movement. He, like so many Angelenos in the Film Industry, only cares about portraying the necessary image to advance his own agenda. When the cameras are turned off, he doesn’t need to act anymore. And then the violence and abuse starts.

Source: occupylosangeles.org
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As both a journalist who occasionally freelances for the mainstream media, and an Occupier, I find myself in a conflicted position regarding reporting on Occupy LA. My personal affinity towards the movement means that I am loathe to write about it in the mainstream media with any kind of objectivity. The flipside of this is that rarely is the mainstream media itself impartial or unbiased. I do, however, frequently pass on accurate information to publications such as The Guardian when it does not conflict with the solidarity of the movement. For example, The Guardian’s recent reporting on Eviction Night was crap, so I wrote in and corrected it with accurate details. I’m sure they probably ignored me. But anyway. Referring again to The Guardian, a recent article by Naomi Wolf, entitled The Shocking Truth About the Crackdown on Occupy, caused a furore across the internet. It’s advent was timely, given the tweets sent out by the LAPD today announcing a media pool for Occupy LA: #LAPD meeting to do lottery to select “pool media” for future #OccupyLA activity. Interested media in pool must have rep attend mtg @ 7:15pm RT @DavidBegnaud: #LAPD media relations to hold news conference at 7:15pm tonight @LAPDHQ regarding #occupyla #ktla The repercussions of this are tremendous: this essentially means from now onwards, only a limited number of pre-agreed media endorsed by LAPD are allowed on Solidarity Park (formerly known as City Hall) property to report on Occupy LA and our battles with the LAPD and City Council’s attempts to evict us. I immediately emailed a member of the press who was in this meeting representing a MSM publication, and received this response: They were only going to let in one media outlet for each medium (print, tv and radio) but we convinced them to let in three….the only media eligible for pool were those who were on the LAPD press release list and able to get to headquarters with an hours notice. So very few were represented at the meeting. I asked about independent radio/blogs and they said that only media with LAPD-issued badges would be allowed in the vicinity. I asked about those already at the camp and they said after the unlawful assembly order everyone who doesn’t leave will be arrested, even those who are journalists. Our attorney was looking into whether there were legal challenges to be made. Once again, a clear violation of First Amendment Rights is occuring over Occupy LA and its eviction. It remains to be seen whether other members of the MSM excluded from the pool adhere to it or not, but the banning of MSM from the scene of Occupy LA during its eviction severely inhibits the press from reporting fairly and accurately, as well as protecting Occupiers from police abuses, which are frequently deterred by the presence of the media. Last night, on the street, one of the chants heard often was “The Whole World is Watching”. LAPD listened to that, and instantly addressed it, so that they can make sure the whole world isn’t watching. Only those MSM outlets they choose to filter our information are going to be watching Occupy LA and LAPD’s attempts to evict us. Note: California Penal Code Section 409.5 clearly states reasons that the LAPD and other agencies may close areas due to public health concerns, riots, civil disturbances or calimities (earthquakes, fires, floods, etc) — but — Section D of 409.5 states: (D) NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL PREVENT A DULY AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE OF ANY NEWS SERVICE, NEWSPAPER, RADIO OR TELEVISON STATION OR NETWORK FROM ENTERING THE AREAS CLOSED PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION. (bold mine)

Source: occupylosangeles.org