Officers Clear City Hall Lawn of ‘Occupy LA’ Protesters NR11561as
Los Angeles: 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.
For more information please contact the LAPD Media Relations Section at 213-486-5910.