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L.A. police chief, mayor against Ariz. law

April 29, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
As the Los Angeles Police Department gears up for Saturday's May Day immigration rally, city officials stand firmly against Arizona's new immigration law.

At a Thursday May Day news conference, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck discussed the planned immigration marches. He said that he looks forward to a calm and orderly rally, devoid of the clashes between participants, police and news media that marred the 2007 event in MacArthur Park.

Beck also said that he is against the recently signed Arizona law targeting illegal immigrants, standing by LAPD's Special Order 40, which prevents officers from contacting people solely to verify their immigration status.

"The positive relationships that are built through Special Order 40 fire away at whatever minor inconvenience it is to a field officer, and the reality is that when people are arrested, we deal with their immigration status," said Beck.

Long Beach attorney David Klehm filed a challenge to Special Order 40, which has been in place for more than 30 years and has withstood several legal challenges.

"70 percent of the population wants something done about it. Since the federal government wasn't doing anything for over 15 years, the state took it upon itself to do something about this," said Klehm.

The Arizona law is expected to draw an even larger crowd to the rally, due to the legislation's growing controversy. Rally organizers say they expect more than 100,000 people to take part.

Beck doesn't expect anything that the LAPD can't handle this May Day.

"We've handled May Day demonstrations for several years now, and we have adequate resources available, and we'll be able to flex those resources as the crowd size demands. We'll be prepared," said Beck.

Los Angeles is preparing a boycott of Arizona, specifically due to the state's new law.

"I strongly support the effort led by council members Hahn and Reyes and other members of the city council to boycott the state of Arizona," said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Two council members have introduced the boycott ordinance, and around the country, other cities are doing the same.

"Our goal is not to hurt the local economy of Los Angeles, but to impact the economy of Arizona," said the mayor.

Rally organizers, including union leaders and immigrant-rights activists, are urging people to attend the march as a show of opposition to the new Arizona law.


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