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Protesters Arrested In Beverly Hills For Unlawful Assembly, Held For More Than 16 Hours

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In this screenshot from NBC4, Beverly Hills police move in on protesters who they arrested early Saturday morning for violating the city's new rules about public assemblies.

A group of protesters were slowly being released from the Beverly Hills jail late Saturday afternoon, after spending most of the day in custody.

Beverly Hills police arrested 24 protesters around midnight on Saturday for gathering in a residential neighborhood. One protester reached by phone Saturday evening said only five people had been released as of 7:30 p.m.

He said he was arrested at 1 a.m. and not processed until 6:30 p.m., right before his release at 7.

"At 2 a.m. we arrived at the station. They started processing us, took our belongings and then just put us in a cell. They didn’t read us our rights. They didn’t offer us a phone call. And they didn’t tell us what we were being arrested for," he told LAist. "I kept asking for my phone call and they said ‘we’re really busy right now, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.’ I asked them for 17 hours."

He said the protesters were each put in a different cell, so they couldn't communicated with each other. He received a citation for "rioting," he said, adding, "I think they just wanted to lock us up and scare us, to keep us from ever coming here [to Beverly Hills] again."

A spokesperson from Beverly Hills PD said the protesters violated the city's Civil Emergency Order, which was issued on June 13. The order prohibits more than 10 people from gathering in a public residential area between the hours of 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Beverly Hills Police Sergeant Thomas West told LAist that since the protesters were arrested on Saturday, police technically did not hold them overnight.

Twenty-four protesters were charged with unlawful assembly. One was charged with a misdemeanor and is being held on a $5,000 bail for attempted arson "after attempting to light a flag on fire, which hung from a commercial building at N. Santa Monica Blvd. and Canon Dr.," according to a statement from BHPD.

According to the city, no force was used on the protesters.

But Sarah Watlington, with the National Lawyer's Guild, said some of the protesters were held for over 16 hours before being processed. "Some we have spoken to said they haven’t been given potable water, soap, or sanitation," she told LAist.

Sergeant West, the watch commander at the Beverly Hills jail, said the processing took a long time because the jail is so small. He said once in the jail cells, protesters had access to soap, water and food, but they "might not be able to access to soap while waiting to be processed," and they would have had to specifically asked a guard for water or to use the bathroom.

Renee Tajima-Peña, a filmmaker and professor at UCLA, said her son was one of the protesters who was arrested. She says she couldn't reach him for 16 hours while he was being processed because the phone he was given to make a call didn't work.

"It's vindictive," she told LAist after he was finally released. "They were not processing them until the last minute."

The National Lawyers Guild issued a statement on the arrests, alleging that they violated the protester's First Amendment right to peacefully assemble:

"Last night, Beverly Hills police arrested dozens of Black Future Project protesters who were doing nothing more than peacefully kneeling on the ground, their hands behind their head. With one exception, these peaceful protesters were arrested for the low-level offense of 'failure to disperse' ... their continued detention is punitive and places their health and safety in danger."

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Organizers Work To Keep Black Lives Matter Out Front

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Ivy Coco Maurice, Miss Black California 2020, urged other protesters to register to vote and fill out their Census forms. Josie Huang/LAist

Etienne Maurice is trying to keep Black Lives Matter running front-and-center in his neighbors' minds.

The activist-filmmaker has for the past three weeks held walk-runs through his Mid-Wilshire neighborhood, followed by town hall-style forum with protesters.

Protests have waned somewhat as time passes from when George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis. But Maurice said he feels a responsibility to keep organizing for the weeks and months to come. He noted the Montgomery bus protests lasted for almost a year.

"We're out on the street occupying space to create a movement," Maurice said. "Not just a moment."

READ MORE

As The Weeks Go By, An Effort To Keep Black Lives Matter Protests Alive

Coronavirus Cases, Hospitalizations And Positivity Rate Increase In LA County, Residents Urged To Take Caution

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Los Angeles County Public Health director Barbara Ferrer speaks at a press conference on the novel COVID-19 (coronavirus), March 6, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP)

The L.A. County Department of Public Health is reporting significant increases in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations adn the testing positivity rate this week.

The 7-day average of daily new cases is now over 1,900. Two weeks ago that average was 1,379.

In addition:

  • 1,698 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, up from the 1,350 to 1,450 hospitalizations we've seen in recent weeks
  • Two weeks ago the 7-day average positivity rate was 5.8%. Today it is 8.6%.
  • Today public health confirmed 23 new deaths and 2,169 new cases.

Barbara Ferrer, the director of the county's public health department, says we are at a "critical moment" in our COVID-19 recovery efforts:

"Over the last few weeks, businesses and public spaces have reopened, and many more people have been out around others...and the data is now showing concerning trends."

Ferrer urged Angelenos to continue to follow social distancing and mask protocols and to stay at home when possible. She said we all must "take immediate action to reverse the trends we are seeing."

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our nonprofit public service journalism: Donate now.

500,000 People In LA County Went To Bars The Day After They Reopened

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A cocktail is displayed at a bar in Brooklyn (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

On June 20, the day after bars were allowed to reopen in L.A. County, about 500,000 people decided to go out for a drink, according to the Department of Public Health.

Compare that to the days or yore, before the COVID-19 pandemic (remember that?), when about 700,000 people went out to nightlife spots such as bars, breweries, wineries, and lounges every weekend. Once the county-wide Safer at Home policy went into effect, that number dropped to around 200,000 (which still feels like a lot seeing as bars were closed ... but OK). We have reached out to the department for clarification on that number.

Between April 6, when nightlife visits were at their lowest, and June 20, visits to bars increased by 157%.

That means a LOT of the people who went out in the Before Times, are going out again. Those numbers do not include private parties, which the department only finds out about if there is a major outbreak.

In a statment, the L.A. County Department of Public Health said: "Because this virus has not changed and is still easily transmitted among people in contact with each other, it is important for everyone to follow the directives and to do their part every day to keep everyone as safe as possible."

California has paused reopening of any further economic sectors, and doesn't plan to move forward anytime soon.

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our nonprofit public service journalism: Donate now.

Riverside Community Hospital Nurses Say They Are Understaffed And Don't Have Enough PPE

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Nurses are on day two of protesting in Riverside. (Photo credit Erik Andrews/LAist)

Nurses are two days into a 10-day strike at the Riverside Community Hospital.

Rapid response nurse Erik Andrews says the nurse-to-patient-ratio has gotten worse since the pandemic. And now there aren't enough nurses to cover patients while others are on a meal or relief break. "No nurse is just going to walk away from their patients to go and take their lunch break. You have to actually be relieved by another nurse who has the same competencies that you do," Andrews told LAist.

Andrews says he often works 10 hours straight without food, water, or a bathroom break becuase no one is available to relieve him.

Riverside Community Hospital is operated by HCA Healthcare. Spokesperson Sunnye Owens-Garrett disputes the staffing complaint. "Now more than ever is the time when our patients and our community need Riverside Community Hospital the most. And we’re really frankly disappointed that the union has chosen this particular time frame [to strike]," he said.

The two sides also disagree on the adequacy of Personal Protective Equipment provided to nurses. At least 60 nurses at Riverside Community Hospital have tested positive for COVID 19 since the pandemic began. Two hospital employees have died.

Owens-Garrett says the hospital has brought in 400 contract nurses to cover the strikers.

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our nonprofit public service journalism: Donate now.

80 Percent Of LA County Restaurants And Bars Are Not Following Coronavirus Guidelines

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(Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Today in disturbing news: most restaurants and bars in Los Angeles County are not following COVID-19 precautions, according to the Public Health Department.

The county recently surveyed 3,700 food establishments and found that fully 83% are in violation of coronavirus regulations (!!!).

The main issue appears to be businesses not communicating the new rules to staff and patrons. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told LAist that a significant number of employees also aren't wearing face coverings, which is a major public health issue both for restaurant workers and guests:

"It's important for staff to wear face coverings because customers do not have masks on while eating and drinking."

Lack of social distancing is also a problem.

On June 15, the county found that half of restaurants inspected since reopening weren't in compliance with new guidelines. That was based on inspections of 2,000 food service businesses.

Maybe if the Public Health Department had given restaurants more advanced notice to prepare for reopening ... or didn't rely on the honor system for safety precautions, this could have been avoided. To be fair, the department is obviously overwhelmed right now, but this is NOT OK.

Ferrer says before you dine, make sure tables are at least six-feet apart or have a physical barrier between them. Tables should be clear of items when you sit, and outdoor dining is your best option.

"Our guidelines are not suggestions. They are mandates. If you see
someone in your business that's not wearing a face covering, take action. If
you see large groups of people congregating in your business, question whether
those folks truly came from the same household and take action. Ask them to
step away from each other."

Here are the full guidelines, if you need a refresher. Ferrer also urged residents to report any potentially unsafe conditions to the Public Health Department. To report a violation you can call (888) 700-9995, Mon.-Fri. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Alternate plan? Stick with take-out.

READ MORE ABOUT RESTAURANT REOPENINGS:

Saturday's LA Protests: When, Where And What We Know

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Protestors raise their fists in the air at a protest organized by Black Lives Matter. Chava Sanchez/LAist

Protests and rallies against police brutality and sytemic racism continue this weekend.

Here are several of the events being held today:

HOLLYWOOD: march to demand justice and change, Hollywood Blvd. and Ivar Ave., 9:30 a.m.

WOODLAND HILLS: family-friendly Black Lives Matter rally and march, Warner Center Park, 5800 Topanga Canyon Blvd., 10 a.m.

MID-WILSHIRE: two-mile walk/run/ride followed by a townhall, L.A. High Memorial Park, 4625 W. Olympic Blvd., 10 a.m.

USC: youth march for Black Lives, Jefferson Blvd. and McClintock Ave., 10 a.m.

ENCINO/SHERMAN OAKS: skate/board/bike rolling protest, 5101 Libbit Ave., 11 a.m.

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE: #BLM protest, Memorial Park, 1301 Foothill Blvd., 11 a.m.

SANTA ANA: defund the police protest, Flower & W. 6th St., noon

SHERMAN OAKS: BLM protest, Galeria, Ventura at Sepulveda boulevards, noon

SANTA ANA: "Black Panther Park," 507 W. 4th St., noon

BEVERLY HILLS: march to the British Consulate, La Cienega Park, 8400 Gregory Way, 1 p.m.

NORTH HOLLYWOOD: Black joy rally, NoHo Park, Ostego St. and Tujunga Blvd., 2 p.m.

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WESTLAKE: Black Trans Lives Matter, MacArthur Park, 2230 W. 6th St., 2 p.m.

DOWNTOWN L.A.: City Hall near Grand Park, 2 p.m.

INGLEWOOD: anti-racism/gentrification, 919 S. Prairie Ave., 3 p.m.

LOS FELIZ: Los Feliz Blvd. @ Riverside Dr., 4 p.m.

EAST L.A.: justice for Paul Rea, 300 S. Gerhart Ave., 4 p.m.

EAGLE ROCK: BLM protest, Colorado Blvd. @ Townsend Ave., 4 p.m.

BOYLE HEIGHTS: anti-police rally, Mariachi Plaza, 1831 E. 1st St., 5 p.m.

In Scathing Order, LA-Based Judge Orders ICE To Free Detained Children Because Of Covid-19

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Last year, eople ralli in Little Tokyo to oppose a Trump administration plan to use Fort Sill Army base in Oklahoma as a detention center for immigrant children and other Customs Enforcement detainees. (David McNew/AFP via Getty Images)

Citing the unrelenting spread of the coronavirus, a federal judge has ordered that all children currently held in ICE custody for more than 20 days must be released by July 17.

Judge Dolly Gee of California issued the scathing order Friday afternoon, saying the Trump administration had failed to provide even the most basic health protections for children and their families amid the pandemic.

She described the ICE-operated facilities as being "on fire," adding that "there is no more time for half measures." Gee wrote:

"Although progress has been made, the Court is not surprised that COVID19 has arrived at both the [Family Residential Centers] and [Office of Refugee Resettlement] facilities, as health professionals have warned all along."

The order by Gee, who is Central District of California judge based in Los Angeles, applies to all three of the family detention facilities in the U.S. Two are located in Texas and a third is in Pennsylvania, as well as shelters housing unaccompanied minors.

As of June 25, at least 11 people at a family detention center in Karnes City, Texas, have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to an independent report filed with the court. Four employees at another facility in Dilley — about 90 miles away — have also tested positive for the respiratory illness, and test results for residents there remain pending.

Meanwhile, an independent monitor and a physician who inspected ICE's family detention centers reported earlier this month that given the infection rates in the counties where the Texas facilities are located, there is "even more cause for concern."

Court documents show that as of June 8 there were 124 children in the three detention centers housed alongside family members. Another 507 children were in ORR shelters as of June 7.

The order essentially forces ICE to adhere to existing laws established in the Flores Settlement Agreement, which limits how long minors can be held in ICE custody.

Holly Cooper, co-director of the University of California, Davis Immigration Law Clinic and one of the lawyers representing Flores agreement class members, is elated by the latest ruling.

She says Gee's decision could lead to the long-awaited the release of entire families. Some of whom have been living in which she called "horrific conditions" for more than a year.

Until now, ICE has been reluctant to release children held in family detention centers "because in order to do it in a humane way, they have to release the child with a parent," Cooper said.

Instead, the Trump administration has offered families a binary choice: stay together in detention or allow the children to be transferred to a sponsor or family member somewhere in the U.S.

The problem is "ICE makes a real horrible guardian of children ... and so far ICE has opted to keep children detained ... during a global pandemic," Cooper said.

But now, under pressure of the looming July 17 deadline, Cooper said, "What we're hoping is that ICE will do the humane thing, and not separate any child from their parents because that's what the children want. That's what our class members want. That's what the advocates want. That's what the parents want."

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Morning Briefing: The Pursuit Of Happiness

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Graffiti is seen on a sign near a new townhouse construction site March 3, 2009 in Compton, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Never miss a morning briefing. Subscribe today to get our A.M. newsletter delivered to your inbox.

In news that should surprise no one, a new report by the California Budget and Policy Center finds that coronavirus-related job loss in the state is affecting women and people of color — and in particular women of color — more than it’s affecting white men.

To put some numbers on it, employment for Black women ages 16-and-over dropped by 23% between February and March of this year; and for Latinas in the same age group, it dropped by 22%. Meanwhile, for white men ages 16 and over, the drop was 7%.

Like any race or gender-related disparity, these numbers are wholly predictable. When we as a society talk about Black lives matter, and systemic racism and injustice, we’re not just talking about the constitutional right to not be murdered by agents of the state. We’re also talking about factors like this: job loss; health disparities; education disparities and more, all of which severely affect wellness and a person’s ability to survive and thrive — you know, to pursue happiness.

Here’s hoping that 2020 is the year things begin to change.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today.

Jessica P. Ogilvie


The Past 24 Hours In LA

Policing The Police: United Teachers Los Angeles, the union representing L.A. Unified teachers and counselors, voted in favor of efforts to defund the district's school police force. Long Beach Police Department is taking heat after three former officers wrote violent threats against Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King on a private Facebook page used by California law enforcement officers.

Reopening L.A.: The Wrigley Tavern in Long Beach, a beloved neighborhood cocktail bar, reopened as many neighboring businesses have closed for good. California has paused reopening of any further economic sectors, and doesn't plan to move forward anytime soon.

Coronavirus Updates: Women, especially women of color and immigrants, have suffered much bigger job losses during the pandemic than their male — especially white male — counterparts (surprise, surprise). Here are L.A.’s new rules for parking during pandemic times.

The Air We Breathe: You don't need us to tell you: SoCal's air is the worst. The main culprit behind our air quality woes? The big diesel-burning trucks that keep our economy moving. That’s why state air quality regulators passed a new rule yesterday to start phasing out fossil fuel-fueled trucks in favor of zero-emission electric models.

Here’s What To Watch This Weekend: In this week’s FilmWeek reviews, Jon Stewart's Irresistible is "frozen in time," Will Ferrell's Eurovision is "way too long," and The Ghost of Peter Sellers is an "extraordinary kind of documentary."

First Person: Working high schoolers from across L.A. shared their experiences of balancing jobs and distance-learning courses. Erick Galindo writes of growing up as a “freckle-faced, redheaded, Mexican American from southeast L.A.” When a person of color in a powerful position falls, some people in the communities they represent feel the pain in a different kind of way.

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Weekend Reads

There's a lot going on in the world right now, and it’s hard enough to keep our day-to-day lives in order without trying to stay current on the news. But if you have some time this weekend, these articles provide some much-needed insight into the current moment in L.A., as well as some news you may have missed:

Here’s how the iconic Watts Coffee House became a neighborhood beacon and gathering spot since opening in 1997. (Eater LA)

In 2015, an LAPD officer shot then 15-year-old Jamar Nicholson in the back as he was on his way to school. The city has now settled with Nicholson’s family for just under $1 million. (2 Urban Girls)

Many immigrant families face poverty on top of grief when their loved ones are deported. (The Marshall Project)

Local musician Emily Lacey has been holding open rehearsals on Instagram Live every night for the past 90 days, a project she’s dubbed “Solidarity in Sound.” (Los Angeleno)

LAist contributor Lexis-Olivier Ray has a first-person account of his experience as a Black journalist covering the recent protests. (LA Taco)

This profile of L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez takes a look at how she got to where she is today. (LA Watts Times)

In collaboration with Las Fotos Project, this series investigates the impact of public safety measures on L.A.’s young people. (Boyle Heights Beat)

Residents of Bel Air tried to prevent a protest, held, at first, by one person. (Curbed LA)

L.A.-based designer Elle Mambetov, who is Muslim, will have a pop-up shop in the Beverly Center featuring high-fashion, modest clothing. (LA Business Journal)


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The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft, and check LAist.com for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


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