This is the latest press release from Occupy Los Angeles on last week's Art Walk events. See here for more background.
LAPD PUSH, SHOOT, KICK MAN IN FACE, ARREST HIM AT ARTWALK
LAPD Arrest and Harm More Artwalkers than Occupiers at “Chalk Walk”
LOS ANGELES – Early Sunday morning videos surfaced online of LAPD violence at Thursday’s Downtown LA Art Walk. LAPD pushed at least one unknown man, shot him in the chest at close range, then kicked him in the face while Occupiers were trying to help him, then the cops squish his face into the ground, then the cops arrested him.
As seen in a youtube video recorded from above, the man was clearly backing up from a line of at least 30 police officers. He turns and walks onto the sidewalk when a police officer pushes him into the street and other officer shoots him in the torso at close range.
After the man stumbles to the ground, two Occupiers come to his aid but police move in, chase the occupiers off, 14 officers surround the man, while one officers kicks the man in the face, then other officers smash his face into the pavement, and violently arrested him. Another youtube video, shows the incident from on the ground.
Occupy activists say at least 4 people were injured with police projectiles.
One young man admitted himself to the hospital Friday after complaining of pain and numbness in his face where he said a bean bag hit him as he was walking into a 7/11 store. Pictures from the Thursday night show his face swollen, bruised, and bleeding.
Reportedly, occupiers took him to a safer place further from the police and called the ambulance for him but the paramedics told him it would cost over $1,000.00 to take him to the hospital and if he could not afford it he could walk or take the bus (which were mostly likely not running because of the police violence downtown).
Allegedly, after this young man got out of the ambulance, the police arrive, hand cuff him tightly, stick him in the back of a squad car and interrogate him.
Another online video shows LAPD shooting three shots into the crowd in three different directions within seconds of each other. The video also features one of the victim’s bleeding wound.
Members of Occupy LA say that 100% of the people that the LAPD injured with ‘less-than-lethal’ weapons are not active members of their group and nearly 90% of the people arrested by LAPD Thursday night were non-occupiers.
Amateur video shows police wrestling a small woman to the ground and body slamming her boyfriend. Another amateur video shows parts of three different arrests including a female that two LAPD officers pushed repeated before slamming her to the ground and arresting her.
Occupiers claim that only two of the 17 or more arrests made by LAPD were of occupiers and the rest were downtown artwalkers. In addition, members of Occupy LA say that at least 7 of the 9 vandalism arrests were made before 9pm, long before police in riot gear made it to the scene.
Occupiers claim LAPD provoked the crowd, so they could escalate their force against them.
The first arrest took place shortly after 7pm and moments after the group walked onto Spring Street from 5th Street. Witnesses report seeing at least 3 motor cycle cops, 5 patrol cars, 12 cops, and 4 private security guards.
Shortly after that arrest, LAPD Lt. Peter Casey and another officer used their batons to push Occupiers into a bolted-down garbage can, a parked van, and into the streets.
According to Lt.Casey, police are applying Penal Code 594, an anti-vandalism State law, as reported by Dan Bluemel for L.A. Activist. Demonstrators say LAPD and prosecutors would have to prove ‘malicious intent’ to get any convictions.
Occupiers claim water-soluble chalk on sidewalks does not warrant probable cause for malice.
One arrestee wrote “I love the world” and then LAPD promptly arrested him.
“There’s nothing malicious about chalk on a sidewalk,” said the occupier, “and besides, sprinkles of light rain had washed away most of what had been written before riot police showed up.”
As seen in yet another amateur video, one male artwalker drew a heart with the words ‘the police’ next to a heart on the sidewalk as Occupiers read off California Civil Code 52.1, “The Bane Act”, to at least 10 LAPD officers standing by.
The Bane Act provides protection from interference by threats, intimidation, or coercion or for attempts to interfere with someone's state or federal statutory or constitutional rights.
Four LAPD officers quickly detained the unknown man who drew a heart for the police, forcing him into the street. Video of the arrest shows Lt. Casey pushing on the back the unknown man’s neck forcing his head down while 3 other officers push the man for behind.
“The man was freely expressing love toward law enforcement,” says another Occupier, “How could that be malicious, evil, or immoral? LAPD was the only malicious ones at Artwalk. ”
Occupiers say the LAPD are trying to threaten them with intimidation and coercion. Occupiers maintain that LAPD over reacted, used excessive force, and began the violence with arresting peaceful people without warning.
“Using chalk to deface public or private property is against the law. When a police officer tells you to stop doing something that is against the law, you need to stop.” Chief Beck told news reporters.Occupy activists say the LAPD personnel cannot even seem to agree on whether washable chalk constitutes a crime of vandalism.
LAPD Officer Karen Rayner told the Huffington Post “it’s not vandalism because it’s not permanent.” She went on to say that she really did not know though.
Timothy Paul Adams, from Orlando, was the fourth person arrested Thursday night. As LAPD arrested him, Adams told the arresting officers about his friend, Timothy Osmar, an occupier that Orlando PD arrested for chalk earlier in the year.
The city of Orlando spent $200,000 defending the Osmar’s arrest, yet the courts sided with the occupier’s Constitutional Rights.
The Occupiers planned the evening with the goal of “having fun, staying safe, and reaching out”. In a briefing before what they call “Chalk Walk”, activists announced they were hoping there would be no arrests during Artwalk.
Occupiers remained peaceful while continuing their outreach efforts until riot cops showed up nearly three hours – and half a dozen arrests— later.
Occupy LA has taken part in the monthly Artwalk each month since their encampment began on City Hall lawn last October. There had been other Occupy arrests at previous Artwalks, however, activists say this is the first time cops responded with riot gear and projectiles and violence on Artwalkers.