An activist arrested during a protest outside Mayor Eric Garcetti’s official residence criticized Monday the Los Angeles Police Department’s actions during a skirmish that erupted on Sunday, saying police engaged in excessive force.
“You saw the footage. That officer was unhinged,” Jamie Penn, a member of the Wilshire Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council, said outside Getty House during the 14th consecutive day of protests seeking to persuade President-elect Joe Biden not to appoint Garcetti to his cabinet. “They rushed and shoved our elderly.”
Penn said she saw “people on the ground needing and I rushed to their aid. I would do it 100 times.”
No LAPD officers could be seen during Monday’s protest.
Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles, which has organized the protests with support from Ground Game LA, has vowed to conduct a demonstration every day until Biden commits to not appointing Garcetti to his cabinet.
Penn, who was described on Twitter as transgender, was arrested shortly after 10:30 a.m. Sunday while police attempted to disperse the crowd.
Officer Melissa Podany of the LAPD’s Media Relations Section said someone in the crowd during Sunday’s gathering began using a bullhorn, which is a violation, and the sound exceeded more than 200 feet, which is another violation. A neighbor complained about the noise, generating another violation, Podany said.
She said that when police moved into to address the violations, others in the crowd advanced on the officers.
“Four officers attempted to make an arrest for the above violations, when the crowd moved in on the officers, punching and kicking them, which resulted in an `officer needs help’ call,” Podany said. “At that time, an unlawful assembly was declared.”
The person with the bullhorn ran away. Penn was arrested during the skirmish.
Various videos of the confrontation were posted on social media, showing baton-wielding officers trying to push back the crowd. Some protesters claimed police advanced violently on a crowd that included children.
The videos have prompted some elected officials to question the tactics used by officers.
Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, called the LAPD’s actions “brutal” and “unacceptable” and “must be denounced by everyone.”
City Councilwoman-elect Nithya Raman tweeted, “There is no acceptable justification for LAPD to use force against Angelenos who are peacefully exercising their right to free speech.”
Assemblywoman Wendy Carillo, D-Los Angeles, tweeted that she had “grave concerns with the circumstances and process of her (Penn’s) arrest including where she was detained and transferred to.”
“It is incumbent upon us to protect an individual’s right to protest and the rights of transgender individuals,” Carillo tweeted.
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