The Los Angeles Police Department has found some fault for the way it handled contentious demonstrations in March against the city’s clearing of a large homeless encampment at Echo Park Lake, but the department is also placing some blame on other city officials as well.
In an after-action report issued Friday, the department said it needs a better system for tracking the use of projectiles on crowds, and for dealing with the rise in independent journalists and “observers,” and may need “a formal policy or specific guidance regarding what actions field supervisors and officers should take when [they] detain someone at the scene of an unlawful assembly.”
The report also urges the city to make the full staffing of Park Rangers a top priority, and says many of the problems at the March 25 protest might have been avoided if the encampment had not been allowed to grow so large.
“Currently, Park Rangers are missing nearly half their allotted positions. They simply do not have the resources to monitor every park in the city,” the report states.
Word spread on March 22 that the park would be closed for repairs, but many in the community saw it as a veiled effort to remove the hundreds of unhoused Angelenos who took up residence in the park. The park underwent $600,0000 worth of cleaning and repairs before reopening to the public on May 26.
Some 182 protesters, legal observers and journalists were arrested for failure to disperse during the demonstrations. The City Attorney’s Office decided in June that those people would not be charged.
The report says the LAPD has initiated 12 personnel complaints for alleged police misconduct connected to the incident.
The report will be discussed at Tuesday’s Police Commission meeting.