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LA citizens took to the streets last night to protest the LAPD’s brutality over the past few weeks. The fatalities include Ezell Ford, Omar Abrego, and Frank Al Mendoza, who was mistakenly shot in his home. Marlene Pinnock and Barry Montgomery were both African American individuals with mental illness who were beaten by LAPD. Hundreds of citizens came out yesterday to protest the LAPD’s brutality and fatal killings. Protesters, one of whom said she was a black panther, spoke to the fact that the victims have all been minorities. One woman’s sign said “You are anti-black!” while another group of protesters wore shirts that read “Save Black Boys.”
Protesters convened in front of the LAPD headquarters in downtown LA. Police threatened to arrest an African American man who was documenting the protest with his camera. A journalist came and told the crowd so that protesters flocked over to the scene. Many protesters took out their phones and iPads to document the incident. The police then retreated back behind their barricades and left the man alone.
Protesters marched around downtown, walking into traffic, causing traffic jams, and lane closures. Protesters chanted:
“Hands up, Don’t Shoot!” alluding to Mike Brown in Ferguson, MI who was shot by police while holding his hands up.
“LAPD, You Are Guilty!”
“Justice for Ezell Ford!”
“No Justice, No Peace!”
One protester’s sign read “We demand a Civilian Oversight Commission,” referring to the commission to oversee the sheriff’s department that was voted down by the Board of Supervisors earlier this month.
After dark, protesters lit candles in memory of the deceased and sat in a semi-circle in a downtown LA intersection. A car drove up to 3 feet away from a sitting protester when other protesters came to sit beside her.
LAPD set up barricades and yellow police tape in front of their headquarters. At various times throughout the night these barricades were knocked down by protesters. A young white man walked over the yellow tape and stood in front of the building. When police started to bicycle down toward the protester, other protesters yelled to each other that they couldn’t allow the man to stand alone. Other protesters then joined the man and the police backed away.
Overall, the protest was a peaceful one.
Malia J. Fontecchio, MSW is a UC Berkeley and USC alumnus. She is the stigma discrimination reduction coordinator for Southern California. She reports on news and issues that are of importance to the mental health community.