Last night, more than 200 people gathered in Echo Park to exercise their First Amendment Rights to protest the Los Angeles Police Department’s (“LAPD”) massive sweep of the houseless encampment community at Echo Park Lake. They were met by several hundred LAPD officers in riot gear who proceeded to brutalize, kettle, and detain not only protestors, but also NLG-LA’s Legal Observers, and journalists documenting the protest. Approximately 80 of these protestors were placed under formal arrest. LAPD’s unlawful and shameful policing tactics have been repeatedly called out by activists and organizers and extensively reported on by local and national media. These same tactics have also been the subject of numerous prior legal settlements against this department, funded by taxpayer dollars. Yet, we see the same pattern of policing emerge time and time again when Angelenos take to the streets to demand justice.
NLG-LA denounces LAPD’s targeted and violent policing of large-scale social justice protests in Los Angeles and is deeply disturbed by the striking similarities between this department’s policing of Echo Park protestors and its policing of mass protests against police brutality and white supremacy this past summer. Police violence tramples protestor’s First Amendment Rights and unjustifiably criminalizes protestors’ attempts to protect themselves in the face of overwhelming state violence.
We stand in solidarity with all protestors, activists, and movements for social justice and demand that Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón refrain from criminally prosecuting all protestors who were arrested in last night’s action.