Occupy L.A.: Police commissioner lauds sweep's nonviolent outcome
In the wake of the police sweep of the Occupy L.A. encampment at the park at City Hall, Robert Saltzman, one of the five civilian commissioners who oversees the Los Angeles Police Department, praised officers early Wednesday for taking control of the park without any violent clashes with protesters.
"It seemed exceptionally well planned and executed," Saltzman said, adding that he and other commissioners had been briefed on the general plan in advance.
Saltzman said that although the situation was "inherently unpredictable," he went into the night "optimistic" that major clashes could be avoided.
The operation was a stark contrast to the MacArthur Park melee in 2007, when police fired rubber bullets and swung batons in an effort to clear a largely peaceful crowd of protesters.
That debacle spurred the department to overhaul the way officers are trained in crowd control and how commanders plan for major incidents. "It has paid off," Saltzman said.
Police Chief Charlie Beck said the Wednesday morning operation included about 1,400 officers.
About $750,000 left from the approximately $1.2 million the department was paid by AEG to cover overtime costs for the Michael Jackson memorial event at Staples Center were used to defray the overtime costs of Wednesday's operation, Beck said.
He added that many of the officers were working regular patrol shifts and so not incurring overtime.
-- Joel Rubin at L.A. City Hall
Photo: LAPD officers deploy in the streets around the Occupy L.A. encampment at City Hall. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times