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Occupy LA Raid: The Morning After [UPDATED]

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LAPD officers approach an occupier (Photo by Jonathan Nafarrete/used with permission)
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Last night, the Los Angeles Police Department conducted a massive raid to clear out the Occupy LA encampment at City Hall. An estimated 200 people were arrested, and 1,400 LAPD personnel were deployed at the scene. Though a perimeter was initialized at around 10 p.m., the LAPD did not move in to the encampment itself until midnight, when they began their methodical and swift take-down of the tents, and, ultimately, the protesters who remained behind in the park and on the streets after declarations of unlawful assembly.

Here is what we know so far:

3:10 PM The National Lawyers Guild has called for the immediate release of all arrestees. Guild board member Carol Sobel said, per a release, "The Los Angeles Police Department is deliberately refusing to release anyone arrested in the Occupy raids with a notice to appear. The City is holding them in jail on $5,000 bail until they can be arraigned by a judge, which can take up to 48 hours. This punishes people for exercising their First Amendment rights.” Under California law, Penal Code §853.6 is mandatory in requiring that anyone charged with a misdemeanor shall be released with a written notice to appear.

2:05 PM The LAPD just issued the following news release, "Officers Clear City Hall Lawn of ‘Occupy LA’ Protesters."

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An early morning combined Los Angeles Police Department, Department of General Services Police Department (DGSPD), and Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD) operation has cleared out the Occupy LA (OLA) encampment on the grounds of City Hall in downtown Los Angeles. The encampment began on October 1, 2011, and ended today. The police operation utilized approximately 1400 officers, resulting in 292 people arrested during the course of the night. There were three minor incidents of LAPD officers using force to take suspects who were resisting arrest. There were no serious injuries to officers or arrestees.

The LAPD and the entire City family reached out to the Occupy LA community from the very first day of the protest. The goal was to ensure that First Amendment rights were upheld, and the Occupy LA protesters and the rest of the community were kept safe.

The LAPD and the City have worked with the occupiers to ensure they could protest safely. They have protested in a generally nonviolent manner throughout the past two months. The City family has said from the beginning that the City Hall location is not sustainable. Public safety and security at a long-term encampment were an ongoing concern. Additionally, the City Hall property has been used as a First Amendment area for all residents of our City, and will to be open to all groups again.

Earlier today, a press conference was held during which Mayor Antonio Villariagosa and Chief Charlie Beck praised the involved LAPD, DGSPD and LAFD personnel for their patience, professionalism and compassion during this operation.

Since Wednesday of last week, OLA has known that the end of the encampment was near. Signs were posted on Thursday, November 24, and hundreds of flyers were distributed the following Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Outreach workers have been working with OLA to address social service needs of the people
occupying the grounds at City Hall.

Yesterday, the LAPD made loudspeaker announcements throughout the day and all protesters had notice that the park was closed. The clearing of the park this morning came as no surprise. All the participants at OLA had a choice to make. Many of the OLA members decided to move on and continue their protest in another manner.

The closure is not meant to stop or interfere with First Amendment expression by OLA or any other person. The Mayor has assured that the Spring Street steps on the west side of City Hall will continue to be a place for peaceful protest and public demonstrations.

The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office has also been actively involved in this operation. All individuals arrested were taken into custody and are being held in lieu of $5000 bail.

1:28 PM Mayor Villaraigosa estimates the total cost of dealing with the Occupy L.A. encampment, eviction and cleanup could exceed $1 million.

12:47 PM Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) President Paul M. Weber issued the following statement this morning following news reports that some of the Occupy L.A. encampment protesters are complaining about the law enforcement response.

It is unfortunate that our society has come to the place where a lawful command from an officer goes ignored. Oftentimes, as was the case at the Occupy L.A. camp, this sets in motion a regrettable series of events. As the League has maintained, when a dangerous individual refuses police orders to end the threat they are posing to the safety of officers and the public, they subject themselves to the consequences of their actions. While some may complain about the LAPD tactics, Los Angeles business and political leaders are already commending the officers for effectively and efficiently ending Occupy L.A. at City Hall with minimum use of force.

11:38 AM LAPD says the number of arrests total 292. 290 were arrested for failure to disperse. One person was arrested for interfering with an officer and another was arrested for battery on an officer.

9:30 AM City Hall Park is strewn with trash and items leftover from the encampment. City sanitation workers say they expect to be out of the park by 1 or 2 p.m. Some material is considered to be a biohazard.

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City Hall Park this morning (Photo courtesy LAist tipster)
9:19 AM A press conference being held by a group of people joined together to discuss the future of Occupy LA post-City Hall camp began with a plea to city officials to reduce the bail of $5000 for the arrested protesters. They say the bail amount is "punitive" and a slap in the face considering for 60 days one of the issues the Occupiers have been trying to peacefully bring to light is that of poverty.

  • Clean up is underway at City Hall, and the park has been fenced off. City sanitation workers are cleaning the site. There is a significant concern about health and safety because of the possibility of an antibiotic-resistant strain of staph, lice, and human waste at the camp.
  • Members of Occupy LA are expected to hold a 9 a.m. press conference to discuss how the movement will continue now that it has moved from City Hall.
  • Streets around City Hall remain closed this morning.
  • Several hundred Occupy LA participants were sheltered at La Placita Olvera last night.
  • The estimated 200 arrestees were taken away in buses, and not cited and released. The LAPD strategy in this case is to hold them so they could not return immediately to the scene, with bail amounts as high as $5000, according to a live report on KTLA.
  • There are numerous conflicting reports about what happened last night at the scene. Those conflicts include: Were the LAPD fully peaceful, except the "two minor" instances of use of force as claimed by LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith, or did they, as some participants are claiming, beat some of the protesters? Some allege the LAPD were taking DNA swabs from those arrested, whereas when asked if this were true, Smith said no that was not the case. While the LAPD did select a 12-member reporting pool for those media who were allowed to be inside the encampment during the raid, there was a heavy media presence; it is believed the 12 pool reporters were instructed not to Tweet after an unlawful assembly was declared, but reporters in the pool from KPCC, the LA Times, and NBCLA were in fact Tweeting during the raid.
  • Video shot by the LA Times reporter shows the LAPD "chasing" protesters on the streets after unlawful assembly was declared at two intersections.
  • Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck are expected to hold a press conference at 10 a.m.

LAist Associate Editor Lauren Lloyd contributed to this report