Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

LA cops beat down immigrant rights marchers

The Los Angeles immigrants and immigrant rights supporters who marched on May 1st in a peaceful multiethnic rally were hit with a rude surprise when cops who were chasing after people a few blocks away broke into MacArthur Park and started firing rubber bullets (these sound harmless but leave large wounds and bruises as you will see in the video) and clubbing innocent participants, reporters, women, children, the elderly, etc.

The FOX News reporter who covers this story is soooooo outraged, you can hear her voice crackling with emotion and indignation. Plus the police beat her cameraperson, which you can see from the video. Ten people were hospitalized, including the FOX reporter Christina Gonzales and her cameraperson Patti Valles (sp?). As a fellow FOX reporter says, "this time it was impossible for the reproter to be objective."

This story is all over google news, and I doubt that it would be the case if reporters didn't get beat up as well. But let's not forget that these over-the-top police tactics have happened before - in Miami during the FTAA protests, in New York City during the RNC, in Seattle during the WTO protests. And the only reporters that covered the injuries of the senior citizens during the FTAA was Democracy Now that I can recall.

Now it turns out the FBI is going to investigate the LAPD's over-enthusiasm. Like that will go anywhere:

The FBI probe is the fourth official investigation of the violence. The U.S. Department of Justice will review the bureau's results and decide whether to initiate a full-fledge investigation.

Police investigators plan to review extensive video of Tuesday's rally, where police clashed with a crowd in MacArthur Park, wielding batons and firing 240 rubber bullets.

Bratton said in an appearance on CBS's "Early Show" that he was "not happy" when he watched videotape of the event.

Oh, I'm so terribly sorry that you were "not happy" while watching the video. I mean, people were only running in terror FROM the swarm of cops dressed in battle black who are supposed to be protecting them, and getting injured and beat down (and what do you want to beat that the actual number of bullets is higher than 240?), well, I bet they feel more than "not happy." Typically, I think of "not happy" as a reaction to finding out that your home team lost a game, not that public employees ran amok and terrorized the public.

The saddest part is the reporter's indignation that normally, the police are supposed to notify them if they are going to do something like this, so that they aren't injured like the hoi polloi. but this time, it didn't happen. This time, everyone gets to see what it feels like to be a peaceful protester or even just a nonparticipant, someone who is walking down the street, who gets caught in the line of fire. Telemundo's take here. (Todos en espanol.) Channel 9 reporters on getting hit by police. A Telemundo reporter says, "I felt like I wasn't in the United States. I felt like I was in a place of real conflict, and we wonder why these people are out protesting, when in reality they get treated like this everyday.

Here are some citizen journalist perspectives:
Gamejew - 10 minutes of running, screaming, hiding from police, shows the thickness and width of the hard rubber bullets. More editorializing.

Ask A Chola TV
- a kid down

ElDaviosol - a man running away, trying to hold and protect his toddler from police, a kid trying to unchain his bike, who sees the oncoming cops. don't know if he succeeds. Really close to all the shooting, you can see the smoke. No editorial comments, just arrests on the street of 30 cops on one 14 year old, an arresting shot of a bicyclist who sees the American flag trampled on the street, turns around to pick it up.

- band playing @ the rally, interrupted by police shooting people enjoying the music

LAcityhall - LAPD Police chief claims that it was an appropriate level of response to the threat. Los Angeles City Councilors react.

Freedom/Libertad - Close up of police beating and kicking a cameraman

LJDasalla - reflections from a Filipino American who lives in the enighborhood afterwards on how it was race-related.

Totally racist response
to the police aggression.

Last thoughts: This is what people see happening and endure this everyday. For the media it might have been a wakeup but for undocumented immigrants they live in this kind of fear on a daily basis.

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