May Day protest: LAPD officer hit in head with skateboard
A largely peaceful May Day protest in downtown Los Angeles turned tense on Tuesday evening as police clashed with protesters.
The incident occurred near 4th and Hill streets when some protesters appeared to swarm a smaller number of LAPD officers, who in turn called for backup.
A police official said a female officer was struck in the head with a skateboard and taken to a hospital. The impact of the blow dented her helmet, the official said, but her injury appears not to be life-threatening.
Overall, however, officials said most of the thousands of protesters were nonviolent.
Angry protesters chanted with their fists in the air after officers refused to let them through a street that leads to the Civic Center. Almost 1,000 protesters marched uphill through the Financial District, looped through Bank of America and were trying to push their way back downhill when officers turned them away.
Officers issued a call for help at 4th and Hill streets at about 4:20 p.m. when protesters, many from the Occupy movement, began circling officers and chanting, "We are the 99%." The crowd swelled as officers arrived by bicycle, motorcycle and on foot to quell the brewing confrontation.
The crowd quickly calmed down.
“I think this is the end,” said Timothy Murphy, 29, of Pasadena, who met up with the East caravan of the Occupy movement earlier.
“It was a beautiful march until on our way back down,” he said.
Another skirmish was reported at the corner of Olympic Boulevard 9th Street.
LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith said he was not aware of any arrests in downtown L.A.
Traffic is expected to remain jammed in parts of downtown through the evening, with many streets subject to closure.
-- Rosanna Xia and Andrew Blankstein
Photo: Brian Mac waves a flag during an immigration reform and nonviolence protest in downtown Los Angeles on May 1, 2012. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times