Activists Call For A Ban on LAPD 'Less-than-Lethal' Weapons At Protests

Demonstrators take a knee during a protest in Hollywood on June 2. (Giuliana Mayo/LAist)

A coalition of community activists and civil rights lawyers called on the L.A. Police Commission to ban the LAPD's use of less-than-lethal weapons against protesters, including rubber bullets and batons.

Black Lives Matter-L.A., the L.A. Community Action Network and the National Lawyers Guild of L.A. announced the demands at a Wednesday morning press conference on the steps of LAPD headquarters before the start of the police commission meeting.

During the protests over George Floyd's killing, LAPD officers overlooked their own training that said not to shoot rubber bullets directly at people, said the National Lawyers Guild's Cynthia Anderson-Barker, who helped put together the list of demands.

"We had numerous, numerous folks who were hit in the back as they were retreating, or in the shins, and on the neck," she said.

Videos have also surfaced of officers forcefully striking protesters with their batons.

Members of the police commission were not immediately available for comment. Last week, the commission released its own list of reforms, including completion of de-escalation and crowd control training for the entire department by the end of the year.

A spokesperson for LAPD declined to comment on the demands. In a statement, the LAPD said it's looking into allegations of misconduct and use of excessive force against protesters.

The department said it's assigned 40 investigators to the task, and reported a total of 56 complaint investigations, 28 of which involve alleged uses of force.

Multiple L.A. City Councilmembers introduced motions today asking for an investigation into LAPD's use of force on protesters, tactics like curfews, and how protesters were detained and handled after arrest.

"The growing number of reports of the use of force or other improper actions by law enforcement against peaceful demonstrators is alarming, and we demand a complete, thorough and impartial investigation — not just of individual actions, but of policy, and of strategic and tactical decisions made during some of the protests," Councilman Mike Bonin, co-author of one motion, said in a statement.

Activists sued the LAPD last week, alleging excessive force and civil rights violations against peaceful protesters.

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