LA Politicians Decry LAPD Response At Garcetti Protest
Los Angeles politicians including Congressmember Jimmy Gomez and Councilmember-elect Nithya Raman denounced LAPD's response to a Sunday morning protest outside the official residence of Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Video recordings showed LAPD officers in riot helmets lining up on the sidewalk outside the residence then striding across the street and forcefully handling people who've been protesting any kind of Garcetti appointment to President-elect Joe Biden's administration.
One officer was recorded using a baton to strike several people, including one who had been helping up another who had fallen.
LAPD in a statement said officers had approached protesters because they were attempting to arrest a person using a bullhorn, which they found to be in violation of a city code barring "sound exceeding 200 feet."
"After multiple warnings, four officers attempted to make an arrest [for the sound violation] when the crowd moved in on the officers, punching, pushing and kicking," the LAPD statement read. "Officers used their baton to prevent the crowd from forcefully attempting to remove the suspect from Police custody. However the suspect ultimately got away."
Instead, officers arrested another person, Jamie Penn, "for forcefully attempting to remove the suspect from police custody."
Penn disputed LAPD's account that protesters were the violent ones. Penn said that police rushed her after she reacted to seeing an elderly protester shoved to the ground.
"I ran over to try to help them because I didn't want them to be trampled," Penn said. "That then led to me being shoved on top of them by LAPD and a dogpile ensued. I was trying to use my body as a brake to keep weight off this elderly man that was on the ground."
LAPD said the crowd's response prompted an "Officer Needs Help" call and declaration of an unlawful assembly.
One officer sustained a head injury and possible concussion when his head struck the ground, according to LAPD.
Penn, who serves on the Wilshire Center-Koreatown Neighborhood Council, said she was detained for about five hours and released from Metropolitan Detention Center Sunday afternoon with a cut to her hand when an officer removed the zip-tie cuffs. Penn, a trans woman, said her gender identity was treated derisively by officers who mocked how important it was to refer to Penn as "she."
LAPD had no comment on Sunday's events beyond its written statement.
Within hours of the protest, state Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) responded on Twitter:
Congress member Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, followed with his own tweet:
Assemblymember Wendy Carillo, D-Los Angeles, issued this statement:
Nithya Raman, the councilmember-elect for the district where the protest took place Sunday, had this response:
Today, protesters outside the Mayor’s residence were struck with batons. An elected member of the Wilshire Center-Ktown NC was arrested.— Nithya Raman (@nithyavraman) December 7, 2020
There is no acceptable justification for LAPD to use force against Angelenos who are peacefully exercising their right to free speech. https://t.co/5ZOjwih8QD
Councilmember Mike Bonin also weighed in.
Garcetti has been a rumored pick to be Biden's housing or transportation chief.
Protesters led by groups such as Black Lives Matter-LA and the People's City Council say Garcetti has been a failure as mayor and should not receive a federal appointment. Protests outside his official residence have run for 13 straight days. Sunday's protest drew families with children.
Organizers rallied around Penn on social media while she was in jail. When she was released she tweeted this:
I am free.— Jamie Penn: At-Large, WCKNC ☭🏳️⚧️ (@RealJamiePenn) December 6, 2020
I have one request.
Please, show up to 605 S Irving Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90005.
Tomorrow @ 9 AM.
This story has been updated.