[Hpn] LAPD Heavy-Handed Anti-Protest Tactics scored in UK press FWD

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Mon, 21 Aug 2000 23:10:15 -0700 (PDT)


http://CommonDreams.org/headlines/082000-01.htm
FWD The Independent / UK - Sunday, August 20, 2000

LAPD CRITICISM FOR HEAVY-HANDED ANTI-PROTEST TACTICS

by Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles
         
        After Al Gore, perhaps nobody needed last week's Democratic
convention to go smoothly more than the Los Angeles Police Department. With
a reputation for brutality and mired by corruption scandals, the LAPD was
not merely concerned to keep the peace; with Justice Department officials
breathing down its neck, its independence was at stake.

        The good news, after four days of chasing groups of protesters all
over downtown Los Angeles, was that no crowd was allowed to run out of
control, no property was damaged, and only 200 arrests were made.

        The bad news was that the LAPD was caught on camera firing rubber
bullets indiscriminately into a crowd of overwhelmingly peaceful
concert-goers on Monday night. It is now being sued by civil rights groups
for targeting television journalists at that gathering, presumably to
prevent incriminating footage from being released. It also arrested two
journalists during a bicycle protest two days later.

        The paramilitary hardware in the city's streetskept trouble-makers
at bay, but also raised old concerns that the LAPD is more interested in
being a fighting force than defending the rights of citizens.

        Both before and during the convention, the courts rapped the LAPD's
knuckles three times for attempting to restrict the rights of protesters.

        And now there is a new controversy about last week's use of
undercover agents - a power removed from the LAPD for several years because
it was suspected that its operatives incited violence that uniformed
officers could then respond to.

        The LAPD came out of the week almost ecstatic. "Morale is high
right now, higher than it's been for some time,'' said Deputy Chief Martin
Pomeroy.

        But almost everyone else disagreed. Dan Tokaji, a lawyer for the
American Civil Liberties Union, said there was now a compelling case for
putting the LAPD under the supervision of the Justice Department.

 2000 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd.

**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is
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