Wednesday, May 02, 2007

MacArthur Park

Usually when a demonstration degenerates into a riot and battle between police and protesters the Chief of Police and Mayor of any city rush to defend the police and bad-mouth the protesters no matter what the evidence shows. LA's police and city government have chosen a different tack after yesterday's riot in MacArthur Park.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Police Chief William J. Bratton said Wednesday that some of the police tactics used to clear immigration protesters from a park were inappropriate, as news videos showed officers striking people with batons and firing rubber bullets into crowds that included children.

Images showed police hitting a television cameraman to the ground and shoving people who were walking away from officers at Tuesday's demonstration. Some injured people were seen in the videos, including a Hispanic man with a bleeding welt on his stomach and back.

Bratton promised an investigation and said he would discuss the matter further at a news conference later Wednesday.

"Quite frankly, I was disturbed at what I saw," Bratton told KNX-AM. He said the actions of some officers "were inappropriate in terms of use of batons and possible use of nonlethal rounds fired."

This can probably mostly be ascribed to the extensive video evidence and witness testimony of a brutal police overreaction, mass beatings, rubber bullets fired into crowds that included children and the deliberate and violent targeting of journalists and cameras.

The US has massively stepped up deportation of illegals, Almost 200,000 swept up and expelled last year. This is a major ongoing trauma to the Latino community as families are broken up and communities feel besieged.

This riot is an unpleasant shift from the very peaceful immigration protests that have occurred so far, so hopefully it really is an anomaly. These kind of tactics deliberately and indiscriminately applied could turn urban America into a war zone.

Update: I examine the way anarchists are getting blamed here.

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