Ferguson protest in downtown LA: Approximately 130 arrested

ByABC7.com staff KABC logo
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Ferguson protest in downtown LA: About 130 arrests
About 130 people were arrested for failure to disperse during a protest in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday following a five-hour march to call for a federal investigation of the Michael Brown shooting in Missouri.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- About 130 people were arrested for failure to disperse during a protest in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday following a five-hour march, police said.

According to police, roughly 70 men and 60 women were arrested. No injuries to officers or protesters were immediately reported.

Those arrested face misdemeanor charges of unlawful assembly, after police gave notice of arrest if they did not disperse. If they do not post bail Wednesday night, there is a chance they could spend the entire Thanksgiving weekend behind bars.

About 300 people assembled in front of the Federal Building downtown at Temple and Spring streets at about 3 p.m. Wednesday to call for a federal investigation of the Michael Brown shooting in Missouri. An hour later the peaceful crowd moved to the Los Angeles Police Department's administration building three blocks away, then proceeded to march through downtown streets.

Some in the crowd stopped and laid down in the street at the intersection of Cesar Chavez and Alameda. Protesters continued marching, briefly blocking the intersection of Cesar Chavez and Vignes Street before police diverted them westbound. Protesters then marched southbound on Alameda, then westbound on Temple.

Just after 7 p.m., the group was halted by LAPD officers at 7th Street between Flower and Figueroa, four blocks from the L.A. Live entertainment complex. The crowd was lighter than it was hours before.

Just before 8 p.m., two protesters were arrested after pushing and shoving was observed between the crowd and police.

Shortly before 11 p.m., a group of about 20 people walked peacefully from L.A. Live and headed northbound on Figueroa.

Some protesters were ordered to disperse and ordered not to reconvene, but did not obey that order, said LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman. LAPD officers in riot gear surrounded a group of about 54 of the protesters and methodically placed them under arrest for unlawful assembly at Hope and 6th streets at about 8:15 p.m.

Neiman said the protesters were endangering themselves and the public running in the streets in traffic.

"This is too dangerous for us to let this continue," said Neiman.

LAPD and California Highway Patrol officers moved to secure freeway ramps to prevent protesters from gaining access to lanes to block traffic, as happened Monday and Tuesday nights and Wednesday morning.

At approximately 3 p.m. Wednesday, the LAPD went on citywide tactical alert on a third day of disruptive protest activity in the city. A crowd of protesters blocked lanes on the 101 Freeway at Alvarado Street Wednesday morning.

Some protesters downtown are calling for a federal investigation in the Michael Brown shooting case.

"We believe Darren Wilson should be prosecuted for the murder of Michael Brown," said community activist Najee Ali, head of Project Islamic Hope. "But since he wasn't in Missouri, we're hopeful that the Department of Justice will take some action."

Ferguson protesters in Los Angeles blocked lanes on the 101 Freeway near Alvarado Street Wednesday morning. Protesters managed to get onto 101 Freeway lanes at Grand Avenue and block lanes in both directions before police cleared the roadway Tuesday night amid rowdy protests. Protesters briefly blocked lanes on the 110 Freeway Monday night after the Missouri grand jury announcement not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown was announced.

Locals react to downtown LA protesters

Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, dozens of people protesting the Ferguson grand jury decision were arrested for disorderly conduct, according to the LAPD.

Police said 167 protesters were arrested for disturbing the peace, one for felony battery, and 15 juveniles for curfew violations, for a total of 183 arrests. Most people were taken into custody peacefully; no one resisted arrest. The LAPD remained on modified tactical alert Wednesday morning before into full tactical alert later in the day.

"People legitimately want to put forward a message of peace, of nonviolence, of police legitimacy, all of those things," said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck on Wednesday. "Then that message is sorely diluted by acts of extreme civil disobedience as happened last night."

"I've always said we support Chief Beck, the LAPD. But we don't support police brutality, and that's why we're in the streets," said Ali.

The Tuesday night demonstrations started off peacefully, but as the night went on crowds became rowdy. During the arrests, police found a switchblade, pepper-spray and a rope with metal pieces tied to it.

PHOTOS: Rallies held across Los Angeles to protest Ferguson decision

"You'd be able to whip that around and toss that through the air, really hurt somebody really severely with that," said LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman. "When it turns destructive and it endangers other people's rights and their safety, we have to step in."

On Tuesday night, protesters spilled into lanes of the 101 Freeway at Grand Avenue in downtown and blocked traffic in both directions using barricades and debris collected from surface streets. No injuries were reported. Police quickly corralled those on the freeway.

Other protesters congregated on the Grand Avenue overpass before officers forced them across the bridge. The protesters had broken away from a larger group of hundreds who had marched through city streets and to LAPD headquarters.

Crowds also gathered on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard at the 110 Freeway briefly, but were stopped by a large police presence. Police were holding the on- and off-ramps secure at the scene to prevent people from marching onto the freeway as happened Monday night. Marchers then began moving northbound on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

At one point, protesters could be seen surrounding a police car and jumping on top of it. One police officer was injured after he was struck in the head with a frozen water bottle.

Beck said earlier Tuesday that demonstrations on the freeways will no longer be tolerated for safety reasons.

"It's not only dangerous for the protester, it's dangerous for the motoring public and dangerous for the public safety employees that will risked their lives to make sure that the other people involved are safe," Beck said. "We will make arrests if people go up on the freeway."

Three people were arrested Monday night after protesters filled the streets in downtown L.A. and blocked the 110 Freeway.