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Prosecutors won't charge LAPD officers in immigration march melee at MacArthur Park [Updated]

http://www.latimes.com/media/thumbnails/photo/2007-05/30031388.jpg

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office announced today it would not file criminal charges against any LAPD officers for their actions during the 2007 May Day melee at MacArthur Park.

Prosecutors said in a statement that after a lengthy review, there was insufficient evidence to prove any officer violated the law when using force, although some might have used "questionable tactics."

They described the incident as "unfortunate and preventable" but said that the office was "closing our file and will take no further action in this matter."

Last year, Police Chief William J. Bratton said he planned to discipline 11 officers and called for the termination of four others for their roles in the melee in which police were accused of using excessive force to clear immigration rights demonstrators and journalists.

LAPD officers were videotaped wielding batons and shooting rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse a largely peaceful crowd. A scathing internal investigation into the incident blamed poor leadership and overly aggressive tactics by officers in the field.

Earlier this year, the Los Angeles City Council agreed to pay nearly $13 million to people injured or mistreated in the melee.

Under the settlement, the department must submit to court oversight of its crowd-control procedures -- another layer of federal involvement that comes as LAPD leaders are impatient to be free of a longstanding and more onerous monitoring program imposed after the Rampart Division corruption scandal.

[Updated at 12:32 p.m.: Prosecutors reviewed an extensive LAPD investigation into 30 officers that including 7,500 pages of documents.

Prosecutors said that the series of events led to actions by officers against "both violent protesters and nonviolent protesters and media personnel."

"The media had innocently and unwittingly positioned themselves in an area directly in the path of officers attempting to clear the park," the report noted. However, prosecutors noted, "not every push or shove amounts to excessive force We cannot establish that any particular officer's actions were unreasonable or without lawful necessity in light of the tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving circumstances."

Prosecutors added that identity "is a factor which must be proven beyond reasonable doubt."

The LAPD officers union praised the decisions. Union President Paul Weber said the distict attorney's review "sought only truth and justice, and was not influenced by any political agenda."]

-- Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Police at MacArthur Park during May Day protest in 2007. Credit: Los Angeles Times file.

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Comments () | Archives (71)

Is anyone really surprised? or did you real expect to receive JUSTICE. Doesn't the timing of it all seem co-incidental, the Cheif leaves the COPS get off. Welcome to the "City Of god" or is it "A Temple of Thieves".

Richard and Andrew thanks for the story.

I am not surprised by this decision, the District Attorneys Office is gutless group of politician wanna-bees. The Police Chief Bratton and his department and the Police Union are corrupt.
And we wounder why people join gangs for protection.
And Tax Payers are out $13 million dollars in settlements. Lets not forget the cost to the tax payers of overtime to investigate this matter by both departments, I would like to know that cost!
Regards
Doug Wallick

"The media had innocently and unwittingly positioned themselves in an area directly in the path of officers attempting to clear the park" and then refused to move when directed by the officers. Some media knelt or sat on the ground in front of the officers in a direct provocation.

The original choice of location might have been innocent, but the refusal to move as directed by an officer and kneeling in the officers path was not innocent or unwitting.

Of course no officers were charged. GEE!!! What a surprise. The DA's Office Under Carmine Trutanich (a good o'l boy if there ever was one) wouldn't dare take a stand and file criminal complaints against the officers who beat innocent bystanders, reporters, even women with baby carriages.

It's just politics as usual at City Hall.

So uh, beating the members of the Press is "questionable tactics".

And women with children in their arms were considered a threat in a highly evolving and dangerous situation that they didn't even know about until the cops came in firing rubber bullets at them.


Yeah.


"not every push or shove amounts to excessive force" - I can see every wife beater in town using that excuse now.

$13 million for 250 injured? That's $52,000 each and frankly is Bolshoi.

Sorry, but MacArthur Park has long been known as a hangout for troublemakers. According to Wikipedia, "MacArthur Park became known for violence after 1985 when drug-dealing, shoot-outs and the occasional rumored drowning became commonplace, with as many as 30 murders in 1990. It also became infamous for the sale of fake identification cards. When the lake was drained in 1973 and 1978 hundreds of handguns and other firearms were found to have been disposed of in the lake.

In 2001, a couple members of the notorious 18 Street gang had a shootout with rival their rivals, the MS 13. A 18 Street clique known as MacArthur Park clique got into an argument with members of MS 13 which eventually led to a shootout. There were 2 injuries and 3 deaths.

On May Day May 1, 2007, a rally calling for U.S. citizenship for illegal immigrants took place in MacArthur Park. The incident has been dubbed the May Day Mêlée.

In the evening, eight protesters (from a band of anarchists who regularly congregate at the park) began throwing rocks and bottles at officers, leading police commanders to declare the gathering an unlawful assembly and give the order to disperse.

The police then cleared the park, using what some thought was excessive force against those who disobeyed the order.

Prosecutors added that identity "is a factor which must be proven beyond reasonable doubt."

Okay, I grant you that proper identification is necessary to root out the bad officers. So how about this: Put the officer's badge number (large) along one or both sleeves of his uniform. If it can be done on the roof of a Metro bus, it can be done on the sleeves of the LAPD. The question is, how bad do those in power really want to remove the bad officers?

outrageous waste of time and money to look into what anybody except members of the anarchist/justicia/gripers knew all along: the jerks brought this on themselves and the not-so-bright media abetted them

Prosecutors said in a statement that after a lengthy review, there was insufficient evidence to prove any officer violated the law when using force:
Then why did the city pay nearly $13 million to people injured or mistreated in the melee. Why is the department going to discipline 11 officers and call for the termination of four others for their roles in the melee in which police were accused of using excessive force...Why, Because the cops are above the law. Personally I believe that immigration laws need to be enforced and the illegals need to be sent home...but having been a victim of police brutality, I know that most cops are liars, and the system protects them.

Is this the same district attorneys office that is trying to arrest medical marijuana patients and the despensary owners?

So I understand THE message.

Police brutality = OK

Medical Marijuana = BAD

Great message L.A .D.A

The officer pointing a shotgun appears clearly identifiable beyond a reasonable doubt.

The fact that 11 officers were disciplined, 4 were terminated and $13 million in settlements were awarded indicates serious violations of law.

The peaceful citizens of this city have paid very significant sums of money and blood because of the illegal actions of the LAPD.

Every officer, especially the leadership, must understand that they serve us. They do not rule over us. This decision by the D.A. does not send that message.

This is smoke/mirror 101 !!!!! How is it law enforcement is able to use video/audio or other technologies to determine criminal activity (or who did what to whom), yet according to your report - they are not able to determine who hit whom, or who ran over whom...........YET THE CITY AGREED TO PAY THE PLANTIFFS A NICE BOUNTY??????So, I guess...once again, the city, the citizens, taxpayers take it on the chin because they allow those who beat the hell out of people to be defined with insufficient evidence

Come-on people did you actual think that there would be repercussions for the actions of those officers, co-incidental, I mean the timing and everything the Cheif leaving and the announcement of no prosecution of the officers. Once again "The City of Angels" or is it "A den of Theives". They are not called the (Untouchables for nothing).

Perfect. Great decision. And by the way, that's the way it should be. Bratton did some good things for this agency, but one of the things he screwed up on and in the process revealed that he is not and has never been a true LAPD officer, is when he saw an opportunity to throw his own guys under the bus to curry favor with the illegal aliens.

Hmmm... Next thing they will be able to shoot into crowds with live amunition and get away with it. Watch COPS lately? Yeah pretty much every clip the person getting arrested is doing something illegal (would probably be boring otherwise), but how many people get pulled over or how many non-motorized bicycles are getting stopped before they pop someone with something. Officers tactics are getting a way bit excessive I think.

the city of la officials are the dumbest peiple on earth. attention lapd: when criminals, illegals, gangsters, anarchist or other scum, march, burn, riot, stay out of it. actually, all policemen quit your jobs and let the politicians and lawyers police your city. amen.

We work with court case for people like this. Continue to file the cause and lets try to move the DA's to MacArthur Park. Let them live in the world they created. It should be mandatory for cops and lawyers to live with those they abuse.

Wow!

What a surprise.

When we see this kind of stuff on TV happening in other countries our politicians are quick to condemn their actions. When it happens in our own country they ignore it.

I cant wait to join the LAPD, I get to beat the crap out of them innocent people and few bad guys and also get high pay and received great benefits also.

Score 1 for the LAPD...........

Justice is still alive and well in Los Angeles. When non-citizens and their sympathizers act out, they need to be contained and dispersed. Politics should never bind the hands of those who keep the peace.

When the police say disperse - disperse. And learn some English while you're at it. (Maybe they weren't able to translate "disperse".) You've had your fun, made your point, now go home. This is why I don't get involved in "demonstrations" and all of their associated chaos. I'm relaxing in my living room, watching these fools on tv. The so-called "demonstrators", particulary those here illegally, got what they deserved. LAPD was just doing its job maintaining order. They are the thin blue line between anarchy and a civilized society.

This does not surprise me at all. They are Police Officers who never do anything wrong. Yeah right! It is all a punch of you know what. They are allowed to do what ever they want, shoot or beat someone and that's ok . I am so sick of this!

Do what you're told and when you're told to do it. There are 3 million other people in this city and it is the Police Dept's job to see to it that their safety is secure. Now from what I remember and what anyone can look up on youtube.com, there was nothing constructive coming out of the mouths of these ungrateful squatters. Only disrespectful and racial insults being hurled at the officers. Job well done by all Officers and the Jury

First, I need to point out that I am normally a huge supporter of the LAPD.

In this case, I am shocked and greatly disappointed in the DA's decision not to charge the officers involved in the 2007 MacArthur Park melee. Forget about the private citizens who were beaten - it's possible to argue that they could have and should have obeyed the order to disperse. What about the journalists, the TV reporters, the cameramen, all of whom were beaten by the LAPD, and the media tents that were torn down?

Those incidents alone warrant a prosecution and state prison time for the officers who were responsible - the media had legal rights to cover news events, even after the general public has been ordered to disperse(this is because of a civil lawsuit settled in 2000 after journalists were beaten during the Democratic Convention).

 
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