A Los Angeles Police Department helicopter. Photo by John Schreiber.
A Los Angeles Police Department helicopter. Photo by John Schreiber.

Updated at 3 p.m., Nov. 27, 2014

Protesters arrested Wednesday night in downtown Los Angeles were headed home for the holiday, Los Angeles police said.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck on Thursday ordered 130 people — 12 of them juveniles — to be released as a goodwill Thanksgiving gesture. They were taken into custody during demonstrations against a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer who killed an unarmed black man.

As of noon, 90 people remained in custody and additional jailers were brought in to process their release, LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith said.

People have either posted their own bail or released without paying but signed a promise agreeing to appear in court, Smith said.

“We have the legal right to keep them until they post bail or are arraigned in court, but because it’s a holiday, (Beck) directed us that we release people on their own recognizance,” he said.

Most of those arrested would be charged with misdemeanor failure to disperse, LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman said.

In all, 323 protesters have been arrested since the grand jury ruling was announced Monday, according to the LAPD.

“If you’re here to disrupt the flow of traffic, to put people at risk, to get up on our freeways, to run in and out of traffic, to attack cars by kicking them or with skateboards, we’re not going to let you do that,” Beck said last night.

Despite the arrest numbers, the demonstrations have been relatively peaceful.

No injuries had been reported as of Thursday, Neiman said.

A man was arrested for felony battery of a police officer for throwing a frozen bottle of water which struck an officer in the head Tuesday night.

Wednesday’s protests began at 3 p.m. at the federal courthouse on North Spring Street, with about 150 people. The group marched to the LAPD headquarters, where protesters circled on the sidewalk.

Protesters then headed north on Main Street, apparently in hopes of reaching the Men’s Central Jail. The group staged a brief sit-in at the intersection of Cesar Chavez Avenue and Alameda Street, then walked along Cesar Chavez Avenue toward the jail complex.

Police met the protesters at Cesar Chavez and Vignes Street, blocking their path and prompting the group to turn around and head west on Cesar Chavez Avenue.

The protesters later sought to reach Staples Center, where the Los Angeles Lakers were playing. Police blocked the protesters’ progress, later declaring an illegal assembly. The protest prompted the closure of Metro Rail’s 7th Street/Metro Station from approximately 8-9:10 p.m.

Nine people were arrested earlier Wednesday for briefly blocking the southbound Hollywood (101) Freeway.

The protesters stood in a line across the lanes, stopping traffic.

California Highway Patrol officers closed the northbound freeway as a precaution, and after a few minutes, the protesters were escorted to a nearby bus lane, where they were arrested by LAPD officers.

A tactical alert, which requires all officers to remain at their posts beyond the end of their shifts, was called about 3 p.m. Wednesday and cancelled about 1:15 a.m. Thursday.

—City News Service

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