Occupy L.A. Protestor Arrested in 'Free Speech Zone' at City Hall
An Occupy L.A. protestor was arrested last night in what Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has called the "free speech zone" on the steps of City Hall. The protester — identified on the video as Frantz Pierre — wanted to protest reports that there was a film shoot scheduled the next day.
A protester caught the arrest on video — as well as an unidentified LAPD officer taking pains to explain exactly how the "free speech zone" works. Villaraigosa said that the "free speech zone" would be open only during regular park hours. But the officer in the video seems to be saying that a midnight protest is legal under certain conditions — shortly before officers arrested someone for protesting after midnight. Here are some snippets of what the officer tells the protester:
Officer: "We will allow you guys to have your general assembly to do your free speech and everything but once people start bedding down [shakes head] no. What we're doing is giving you plenty of time to..."
"What we've done is we're saying if you're no longer having a general assembly, we're going to give you half-hour to gather up your stuff, gather up and clear out."
Officer: "We probably could have done this a half an hour ago had you guys stopped at 10:30 because ok now you have people sleeping, we'll give you until 11."
Camera man: "So it's a moving target."
Officer: "If you guys were saying 'Hey, we want to protest the moon coming at midnight, we're going to be here at midnight and we think it's wrong that the moon comes down at midnight' we're going to let you stay here[...]What this boils down to is people camping out on the lawn."
Later on, Pierre tests the rules. He goes up onto the steps of City Hall. It appears as though an officer tells him, "You will occupy the jail if you get arrested, sir." Shortly after he is handcuffed and taken away while protesters boo.