Activists Wednesday criticized the arrest of an 81-year- old black man during Tuesday’s Los Angeles Police Commission meeting, saying police unnecessarily dragged and wrestled him to the ground after his comments were deemed “off-topic.”
Police arrested William Hayes — who is also known as “Tut” Hayes — a regular attendee and speaker during the commission’s public comment period. Hayes was accused by police of resisting arrest, and was detained in county jail for about two hours before being released.
Activists with Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Community Action Network, and other groups chastised the commission on Tuesday for allowing police to tackle Hayes, a “senior citizen,” to the ground.
They issued a statement Wednesday saying the commission’s regular “tactic” of stifling free speech “reached a new low” on Tuesday, and also released an edited video of the incident.
The footage, which appears to be sped up, shows two officers on either side of Hayes grabbing him by the arms to move him away from the public comment podium. Hayes appeared to be struggling to get out of the officers’ grasp, and at one point Hayes — still being held by officers — was on his knees and falling forward.
The video can be found here.
Activists who regularly attend the meeting complain that the commission regularly seeks to silence members of the public who make critical comments, and called on Mayor Eric Garcetti to “remove” Police Chief Charlie Beck and commissioners who “ordered the arrest and oversaw the brutalization.”
Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman Liliana Preciado said the department does not have a response to the activists’ criticisms, and police commissioners were not immediately available for comment.
— Wire reports
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