It’s been a while since the Los Angeles Police Department has been accused of using excessive force.
So long in fact that one might have come to the conclusion that the notorious LAPD had cleaned up its act.
This time LA cops did not just beat up the citizens they’re supposed to protect. This time the cops also battered several members of the media.
It happened at an immigration rally in LA one of many held throughout the U.S. to protest our government’s indecision on providing illegals already here a path to citizenship.
As the rally was winding down, approximately 600 LA cops decided to do a sweep and clear of the park where the protest was being held.
The officers whacked everyone in their path with batons including journalists or shot them with rubber bullets.
The end result was at least 17 people suffered injuries, including 7 officers. Nine people were arrested.
The good news is that unlike during past LAPD abuses, the department appears to be owning up to the fact that its officers had no excuse for going berserk.
LA Police Chief William J. Bratton said Wednesday, “The events of yesterday, with all (the training) that we do, should not have occurred. We should not be engaged in attacks on the media.”
Or, for that matter, innocent civilians.
Bratton admitted that the police order for people to leave the park was likely not heard by many because it was done from a helicopter flying overhead. He also said that those who did hear the message may have not understood it because it was done in English, not Spanish.
John Mack president of the five-member LA Police Commission, which sets policy for the Police Department _ told the Assocated Press he was “deeply disturbed and very disappointed” by the LAPD’s handling of the protest.
He said, “This was not a pretty picture. This incident raises serious concern regarding the use of force by some individual officers.”
The LAPD as well as the Police Commission have pledged to investigate the officers’ assault on the park.
The California Attorney General’s Office should get involved as well because it’s always better when outside agencies investigate such apparent wrongdoing.
Chief Bratton explained the officers moved to clear the park after some agitators began throwing rocks and bottles at them.
Like other LAPD blunders this one was caught on video. That should come as no surprise to the police, who injured several video-camera-toting journalists in the process of violently dispersing the crowd.
The TV and radio reporters were more than just pushed around. The LA cops meant business. Just ask KTTV reporter Christina Gonzales. She suffered a separated shoulder, while her camerawoman Patti Ballaz received a broken wrist and possibly a broken hand, according to the AP.
A couple of TV anchors were set to do a live broadcast from the park when the police moved in and literally shoved them out of the way.
All in all, the events at MacArthur Park on Tuesday show the LAPD at its worst.
The only upside is that even the cops are admitting they goofed.
Now let’s see what kind of justice gets served to those officers who crossed the line.