A demonstration against racism and police brutality at Lakewood City Hall and the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station was peaceful until a group of protesters returned and refused to disperse, with one protester throwing a large steel object at deputies leading to an arrest, authorities said Saturday.
About 500 people peacefully protested between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Friday at 5050 Clark Ave. and dispersed without incident, according to Deputy Grace Medrano of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
“Approximately thirty minutes later, a group of 100 protesters returned and occupied all lanes of traffic on Clark Avenue, which had been previously reopened. This caused a potential safety hazard for both protesters and vehicular commuter traffic,” Medrano said.
An unlawful assembly was declared and protesters were ordered to disperse, but the protesters refused and advanced toward deputies, she said.
“Among this group (of) protesters were approximately three to four agitators directing the group not to follow orders,” Medrano said. Deputies identified the “lead agitator” and moved in to arrest that person and press the crowd to disperse, she said.
“An individual in the group armed himself with a large steel piece of broken brake rotor and threw it directly at the deputies,” Medrano said.
“Deputies employed less than lethal pepper ball projectiles and launched them at the suspect who had thrown the brake rotor fragment,” she said. “Pepper ball projectiles were also launched toward others in the group who were seen attempting to arm themselves with objects taken from a protester’s backpack.”
Deputies also fired pepper balls at the ground and against walls near the protesters and used smoke as they pushed the group out of the area, Medrano said.
One suspect was arrested for suspicion of resisting an executive officer and failure to disperse at the scene of a riot, she said. No deputies were injured.
Anyone with information about the incident was encouraged to contact the department’s Lakewood station at 562-623-3500.
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