Video Shows LAPD Gave Inaccurate Account of Local Reporter's Arrest During Occupy LA Raid
A journalist with City News Service was among the nearly 300 people arrested in the wee hours of November 30, when the Los Angeles Police Department raided the Occupy LA encampment at City Hall. Now video showing the arrest as it happened seems to contradict the LAPD's version of what went down, and an internal affairs investigation has been launched.
The arrest was revealed by LA Weekly, who refer to the journalist in question, Calvin Milam, as a female. The report in the Weekly also indicates the LAPD's Cpt. Andy Smith claimed Milam "did not appear to be working, might have been drunk, and was allegedly 'belligerent' when police clearing out the City Hall encampment confronted him and told him to leave."
However, as The City Maven reports, video posted to The Occupied Venice Journal shows the arrest, and counters what Smith said on record about Milam prior to his take down by the LAPD. Here's what is in the video:
CNS reporter Calvin Milam can be seen on Spring Street facing west — away from the encampment — as he shows police officers his LAPD press credential. He then crosses the police line that ran up and down Spring Street between Temple and First. As he does so, he is brought to the ground by a number of officers in riot gear.
Milam filed copy that night for CNS, and told the City Maven "he was not drunk that night and hasn’t had a drink in more than 20 years." He has sought legal representation by Mark Geragos, who says he has not read the police report but " the video is completely at odds with the accounts I’ve been told orally (by the LAPD and City Attorney’s Office)." Geragos is likely to seek a retraction from the LA Weekly, and will pursue legal action against the police.
Smith blames a "major miscommunication between the arresting officers and Media Relations" for the confusion with Milam, and says internal affairs will look into the case. He adds "that even with a media credential, people cannot cross police lines. Folks who wanted to leave the City Hall lawn that night without being arrested could have exited out the north or south entrances, but not east or west."
There was much confusion that night, however, as many of the arrestees have reported following their release. Some were taken into custody about three blocks away from City Hall, even after they followed police orders to move to a certain location in order to not be arrested. As we reported, at around 2:30 a.m. on the LAPD scanner the officers were discussing boxing in groups of people on nearby streets, as well as opting to arrest reporters without ID badges with the intent for the LAPD to "sort out" their identity later.
To control the scene, and the flow of information regarding the logistics of the operation, the LAPD handpicked a dozen reporters from established media to be present as a pool within the police line. Milam was not among those selected for the pool.
Here's the video. Milam's arrest is at 3:22: