Occupy L.A.: Nearly 300 protesters still in jail face $5,000 bail
The National Lawyers Guild is calling for nearly 300 Occupy L.A. protesters arrested early Wednesday to be released from jail.
The majority of the 292 protesters were taken into custody for failing leave a City Hall park after police issued a dispersal order early Wednesday, city officials said. A smaller number also were cited for resisting arrest.
All are being held on a minimum $5,000 bail until they are arraigned by a judge -- a process that can take up to two days.
Attorney Carol Sobel of the lawyers guild said protesters should be released with notices to appear before court and not be punished “for exercising their 1st Amendment rights.”
Sobel rebuked city officials for being too focused on its plan of moving in on protesters and -- neglecting to plan for what came next.
“They had this elaborate plan,” she said. “But they didn’t have a plan for arresting them.”
The city attorney’s office has not yet been asked to file charges by the Los Angeles Police Department, according to Chief Deputy City Atty. William Carter. But Carter said that will probaly happen soon.
Carter said the city probably would press charges in many of the cases, but noted: “We will review each case individually.”
He said city prosecutors also may seek payment from some protesters for damaging the park.
“There could be more charges once we review and work with LAPD to find out who is responsible for that damage,” Carter said. “Because in the end the taxpayers will have to pay if we can’t find out who is responsible.”
Earlier Wednesday, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the cost of the protest to the city could rise above $1 million.
-- Kate Linthicum
Photo: A protester is arrested as Los Angeles police officers dismantle the Occupy L.A. encampment at City Hall.
Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times