As funeral services are held in Houston for George Floyd, another series of protests is anticipated across the Southland Tuesday in memory of the man who died after being pinned to the ground by a white police officer, and to call for an end to police brutality.
Protests have been held daily for more than a week, including a massive gathering Sunday in Hollywood that attracted an estimated 50,000 people.
Hundreds of people gathered Monday in downtown Los Angeles, where four funeral-like processions — complete with hearses — originated in different locations and converged at First Street and Broadway.
Multiple gatherings are expected across the Southland Tuesday, including a noon gathering at Norwalk City Hall, 12700 Norwalk Blvd., organized in part by the United Indigenous Peoples and Nations Club at Whittier College.
At 1 p.m., A High Schoolers for Black Lives Matter march will be held at Veterans Park, 4117 Overland Ave., in Culver City, culminating at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Pacific Division station, 12312 Culver Blvd.
Also at 1 p.m., a March for Freedom and Justice will be held at the Walnut sheriff’s station, 21695 Valley Blvd.
Other gatherings are tentatively anticipated at noon at the Sherman Oaks Galleria, at 1 p.m. at the Burbank Empire Center and at 4 p.m. near the campus of Pierce College in Woodland Hills.
In Orange County, a rally is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. in front of the YMCA at 29831 Crown Valley Parkway in Laguna Niguel.
A small group of people protesting against police brutality slept Tuesday morning in Grand Park, across the street from Los Angeles City Hall. The campers in five tents said they plan to stay put.
“Just like they did on Wall Street, because we want them to know that every single day and every single night we will be here until our message is heard and until there is change,” protester Jose Gomez told ABC7.
The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office announced Monday that thousands of people arrested for curfew violations during the past week of protests won’t be facing criminal prosecution, with plans being developed for a more education-based resolution of cases.
“Peaceful protest is profoundly important, and these protests have rekindled a long-overdue effort to change hearts, minds and institutions. We can’t let this moment pass as we have too many times before,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a statement. “As we move forward, our restorative approach to these cases will bring protesters, law enforcement and other voices from our community together to foster the mutual empathy, understanding and respect that are essential to building a better version of our city.”
Specific details of the diversionary programs were still being developed, but according to Feuer’s office, the effort will involve a “menu of programs employing different formats,” including discussions of steps that can be taken by the community “to address issues relevant to these protests.”
The diversionary programs will be offered to people arrested solely for curfew violations — not those suspected of violence, looting or vandalism.
The decision follows complaints by some of those arrested that they spent hours in plastic handcuffs in crammed buses without justification, leaving them with injuries and potentially exposing them to the coronavirus. A lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and Black Lives Matter L.A. claims the curfews illegally suppressed constitutionally protected protests and violated people’s freedom of movement.
The day after the lawsuit was filed last week, Los Angeles County and most Southland cities stopped imposing curfews, saying the protest marches had become noticeably more peaceful, absent the violence and looting that marred some of the gatherings early on.
An ACLU attorney said Feuer’s decision to seek an alternative to prosecution for curfew violators does not resolve all the concerns outlined in the lawsuit, saying all charges against them should simply be dropped.
Rachel Steinback, a civil rights lawyer and representative of the National Lawyers Guild of Los Angeles’ Mass Defense Committee, also argued that curfew cases should be dismissed outright.
“The arrestees are protesters who were engaging in protected speech. They were largely arrested for curfew violations, which the city attorney’s office knows is illegal, and the notion that the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles City Attorney are going to require these protesters to engage in communications about race, racism and police violence in exchange for dismissals is unacceptable to us,” Steinback said.
“It is the police who need educating,” Steinback said. “The black community in Los Angeles has been reaching out to the city, the county and the police department for decades asking to be heard. We appreciate that the city and the county are responding with an interest in talking, but our protesters should not be compelled to engage in discussions in exchange for dismissals of cases that should not be brought.”
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, whose office would handle curfew violations in parts of the county without their own local prosecutor’s office, said her office will not pursue charges for people arrested on curfew violations or failure to disperse.
Memorial services were being held Monday in Houston for Floyd — who died after being pinned to the ground by a white Minneapolis police officer who placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
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