LAPD chief says inappropriate force used during rally

LAPD brutality

That’s right, even LAPD chief William Bratton was appalled by the thuggish behavior of his own troops towards immigration rights protesters and members of the media yesterday in L.A. But then, Bratton has said this kind of thing before, but nothing ever seems to change, does it?

As one who lived in L.A. for thirty years and recently moved, hey, I’ve been in lots of cities, and police elsewhere just don’t have the RoboCop aura of menace that LAPD does, something that doesn’t contribute to effective policing or good relations with the public. But then, LAPD hardly ever seems concerned with that.

This kind of noxious police brutality happens every day in L.A. The only difference this time is that it was video’ed multiple times, including by tv stations, so Bratton couldn’t deny it happened. That they will launch a phony investigation where no cop is disciplined, much less goes to prison, is a given.

Express your outrage. Send a fax to L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa that Bratton be fired.

And Hell yes this is personal, some of my friends were shot at with rubber bullets and beaten.

Update: Full information now online at ANSWERLA.org

Los Angeles benefit for victims of police brutality

Fri., Dec. 15, 8 pm
Remy’s On Temple
2126 W. Temple St., L.A.

ANSWER LA is holding a benefit to defray unrecoverable bail costs and other expenses associated with the unprovoked beating by LAPD of two ANSWER LA volunteers on July 8, one of whom was arrested for a felony. LAPD has decided to not file charges, but bail expenses were $5000.

Join us in Los Angeles on Friday, Dec. 15 for a night of speakers, music, spoken word poetry, food and discussion to benefit the victims of police brutality. The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition is hosting events taking place across the country to raise money for the struggle against police brutality, racism and for free speech. The Los Angeles event will feature:

Los Kache: Progressive Latino ska band from Los Angeles

Solidarity greeting from Tom Morello: Former Rage Against the Machine and current Audioslave guitarist

Victims of police brutality & anti-racist activists, including Jose Villa and Christen Westberry

Spoken word poetry by Joneric Concordia of KmB Pro-People Youth and Alliance for Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines

How police brutality can be stopped: From LA to NYC to Atlanta, no more victims!

Tribute to Mumia Abu-Jamal: African American political prisoner on the 25th anniversary of his arrest

On July 8, 2006, the Los Angeles Police Department viciously attacked immigrant rights activists who were protesting against the anti-immigrant Minuteman Project in Hollywood. The protest of 300 people was called by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition to counter a Minuteman hate march down Hollywood Boulevard, a traditional route for anti-war and other progressive demonstrations.

The police launched a coordinated attack on the protesters, striking people with clubs and pushing them to the ground. The protesters were simply exercising their free speech rights. A.N.S.W.E.R. activists Jose Villa and Christen Westberry were two of the protesters badly beaten. They were pushed to the ground and clubbed repeatedly by cops as they tried to photograph the police falsely arresting another protester. All of this was captured on video.

Villa was then falsely arrested and outrageous felony charges carrying the possibility of a long jail sentence were slapped on him. Villa was held in jail for nearly two days on $50,000 bail. He was released after paying a $5,000 unrecoverable bond. Villa and Westberry had to be treated at a local hospital for their wounds.

In response to the police riot against the protesters, A.N.S.W.E.R. held a press conference and waged a prolonged political struggle against the LAPD, showing the video of the incident on media outlets and at political gatherings. More than 320,000 people have viewed the video online. Now, in a major victory, the charges against Villa have been dropped. This comes on the heels of additional videos of LAPD brutality surfacing on the internet.

A.N.S.W.E.R. is hosting the Dec. 15 LA benefit, along with benefits in other U.S. cities, to defray the costs of the bond paid to free Villa, and to continue the struggle against police brutality and racism.

View the video of the beating

(I posted three versions of the beating video on YouTube. They’ve been viewed an amazing 320,00+ times, something which certainly demonstrates the power of video. I also posted videos of the press conference announcing the lawsuits against LAPD.)

Charges against Jose Villa dropped!

On July 8, 2006, ANSWER Coalition activists Jose Villa and Christen Westberry were badly beaten by LAPD at an anti-Minutemen protest. The video, which I posted in three versions on YouTube, have now been viewed over 310,000 times and unquestionably played a big part in the very good news that the bogus felony charges against Villa have been dropped.

Videos from the press conference announcing the lawsuits against LAPD are also online.

Villa’s bail had been an outrageous $50,000, which means $5,000 is unrecoverable. The ANSWER Coalition will be holding several events nationwide to help defray that cost. More details coming ASAP.

Update: It now appears LAPD will file administrative rather than criminal charges against the officers involved.