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


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)

so all the video and the pics of the event are not enough proof? the people that got messed up and fired upon and got battered around should get up on these peoples face!

oh wait its october 30th, bratton leaves office tomorrow. of course! its a way to broom this under the carpet. basically it NEVA HAPPENED! this is an outrage. there is no justice for these people.

"What's missing" is missing more than a few points of logic.

It's laughable that he attempts to mislead and distract us with quotations from Wikipedia about irrelevant and anachronistic events. Most high school students know better than to do that.

But it's a serious and dangerous proposition to claim that the actions of large squads of riot police that day were caused by a few persons alleged to have thrown rocks. That he is making a classic begging-the-argument is obvious if you ask yourself this: How could anyone throw rocks at riot police unless said police were present prior?

The logical flaws are less important than the very real damage to the state of peace and justice that such faulty logic can cause. Remember Kristallnacht and McCarthyism? If not, then learn.

Think critically and live in dignity. Question those who would deny anyone their human rights.

That's what is really missing from the arguments of "What's missing" and others who would have us believe that authoritarianism is defensible.


What do you expect the cops to do? When a cop tells me to move, I move. When a cop tells me to leave, I leave. But then again, if I was to ever see a bunch of cops moving in my direction I would leave before being told to do so. Especially if I had my kids with me!

The ironic thing is the folks protesting originate mostly from Mexico, Central or South American. Have you ever been to a protest in any of those countries? Do you think there would be a hearing or any payment to folks who refused to listen and got hurt? Heck no!

Put yourself in the cops place. These days in protests they get shot at, pelted with bottles and spit at. If you want to protest than do so. But once the police show up peacefully disperse.

Police in L.A. can do whatever they want, to whomever they want, whenever they want. There will be no serious repercussions and at worst some will be "fired" then get their jobs back a few months later with full back-pay once the smoke clears.

The sooner you understand this, the sooner everything will be OK. Nothing to see here, move along.

You all are missing the point. The officers did not get off without dicipline: 11 were suspended, and 4 were terminated. The DA chose not to bring criminal charges against the officers. We can't expect to hold our officers 100% personally liable for their actions while on duty. They hurt some people, they didn't kill anybody. I don't want the men & women of the LAPD to be afraid of going to jail for doing their jobs. We need them to protect us. I'm not condoning their crowd control methods, but we need to give our police the ability to make those types of decisions or else next time the demonstration will turn violent and our LAPD won't have the power to stop it.

so the thugs from the biggest gang in american commit violent crimes once again and get away with it...once again

yay for spineless prosecutors!!!

hopefully, LAPD will pull one of you over one night and shoot you with rubber bullets

would one of you spineless puppets press charges then???

It is interesting that so many people who have commented have written as if they were there. Many of the posts are simply wrong.

Here are a few simple facts that might help you better understand the chain of events. First, the order to disperse came after most of the park was sealed off, so it was extremely difficult to leave the park once the order was given. Second, keep in mind that the mach had ended and a rally was happening in front of a stage that had no clear line of sight to the direction of where the officers were storming the park, so most people did not see or hear the mess until it was right in front of them. Third, no rocks were thrown. Plastic water bottles, yes. Rocks NO. It simply isn't true. There was a kid at the end of the march who stepped off a curb to pick up his hat. The police pushed back and there was a scuffle. Arrests should have happened at that moment if at all, but instead the police took a very aggressive stance and slowly provoked a small portion of the overall crowd, which was entirely made of teenage kids and very easy to provoke (after several minutes of this a plastic bottle or two was thrown...no more than that). They ultimately pushed the kids back into the park and then sealed it from both sides. I was on the south side of the park and didn't get caught in the middle of the mess, but if I had been on the north side watching the rally, I seriously doubt I would have seen either the scuffle or the police raid that followed until it was right on top of me.

The people who were there were not all illegal immigrants. Were some illegal? Sure, probably. BUT, most were people like me. People who want to see humane policies for all people, regardless of where they were born or what they look like. There were families, children, elderly...working men and women who came together to voice their concerns. The LAPD made it into an ugly scene, and this is a shameful way to end the story. We all deserve better than this.

Of course they walked away. Kinda like why even investigate.

They walked away after Rodney King. This was 'merely' some uniformed bully pushing a "dangerous" female reporter to the ground with a baton.

Order to disperse was given. IT MEANS DISPERSE! It doesn't mean everyone do what they want to do. Either way why are you hating the LAPD? The only reason...and I emphasize ONLY reason this was made an issue is because members of the MEDIA not the PUBLIC were injured. Heaven forbid the MEDIA be told to do anything and listen or be held accountable for anything. Its a joke...if no member of the media sustain injuries during this there would have been no story!

The Officers shouldnt be charged. Anyone with common sense should have that gut feeling that if something were to go 'sideways' and there are Police Officers in large numbers at the ready, even the so called innocent just might get in the way. It's up to each individual to move their ass, protect themselves, and get out of the way. Take responsibility for yourself, for once. The media wants to get the best photo-op, well have a 3-D view of this batton then....

This is the only country in the world where illegal aliens can conduct an unruly rally, throw rocks and bottles at the police who were attempting to restore order, get pushed onto the grass and then collect a healthy settlement from the city...I guess it better than picking cabbage...

Termination and prison is the ONLY punishment for their abuse of authority...

Why does that NOT surprise...

The L.A.P.D. is just as corrupt as the police down in Mexico...

Like I said over a year ago...nobody will face criminal charges. The corruption is completed. And for the record, if anyone legally kills the cop pointing the "assault weapon" in the lead story today, whose face is clearly seen for identification purposes, there is a large cash reward waiting for them at the website listed above.

Remember, justice is blind. But not that blind!


Thank you, Matt, for setting the record straight. The park was sealed, and THEN the riot police charged. How could anyone "disperse" if the exits were blocked? The police created a dangerous situation and brutalized hundreds of people.

The police have flawed "crowd control" policies that cause over-reaction and illegal police behavior. They did it in 1999 at Venice beach, they did it in 2000 at the convention downtown, and they did it in 2007 at MacArthur Park. That is why they are now under another consent decree with federal monitoring.

Such actions by the police indicate that, despite the pacifying words from the leadership, they are recalcitrant in their refusal to allow expression of political speech and freedom of assembly. It indicates that they are contemptuous of the public.

It is truly a shame because it demeans the good service of other officers in the department. The department deserves better, and so does the city.

can we get the 13 million dollars back from so call damages done by the lapd ?

"And so the faceless thugs of the LAPD get off scott free as usual. Apparently there isn't enough money to train them adequately, but there's half a million dollars available to decorate their new headquarters with the worst public sculpture I've ever seen."

The faceless thugs were in the crowd.

"So the LA Times went on a jihad against the LAPD for several years over an incident where no crimes were committed. An incident that was created entirely by illegal aliens. Amplified by bottles and rocks thrown by illegal aliens. You know, people who are breaking the law. People who should be arrested and jailed."
The nightmare continues with Congress demanding they be amnestied. And those same people are very busy playing pick-up-sticks with our health care and national economy. Is it safe to say the Congress has a really bad reputation and we should put any serious efforts to cure our crumbly nation on the back burner until the next election? Yes it is.

Just say no to the illegal aliens.

Well thank you Maria for clearing that up, except...

1. There are no peoples indigenous to this land,
2. My ancestors came into this country legally, played by the rules,and murdered no one,
3. My birth here on American soil absolutely makes me a native American (illegal criminal aliens substantiate that with their insistance that their spawn born in America are American citizens,
4. This is not a nation of immigrants, it is a nation of Americans. The proof of that is the resistance by Americans that is rising ever higher to the illegal immigration debacle we are suffering.
Did I leave anything out? Oh yes, kudos to the district attorney for making the absolute right decision.

One more thing Maria...citizenship is determined by the status of the parent(s), ergo, unless your spawn are born to legal American citizens, they have no rights here. We will clarify that, make no mistake.

Like I said over a year ago...nobody will face criminal charges. The corruption is completed. And for the record, if anyone legally kills the cop pointing the "assault weapon" in the lead story today, whose face is clearly seen for identification purposes, there is a large cash reward waiting for them at the website listed above.

Remember, justice is blind. But not that blind!


Posted by: ANOTHER CROOKED COP | October 31, 2009 at 02:23 PM

Do you folks actually read what you allow to be posted? Correct me if I'm wrong, but the above post is a call for assasination of a police officer, and you've allowed it to be printed. This should be removed immediately.

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