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Downtown L.A. melee: 2 police officers hurt, at least 14 arrested

July 13, 2012 |  4:06 am

 

 

This post has been corrected; see note at bottom for details.

At least 12 people were arrested during several hours of clashes in downtown L.A. with crowds of people amid the popular ArtWalk event.

At least two officers suffered minor injuries, police sources said. Officials said 12 of those arrested were booked on vandalism charges and two others were in custody on suspicion of assaulting a police officer.

The melee appeared to have stemmed from a sidewalk-chalk drawing demonstration, witnesses said.

PHOTOS: Confrontation at downtown L.A. ArtWalk

A woman who identified herself as part of Occupy L.A. said protesters attended the monthly L.A. ArtWalk on Thursday night with the intention of showing support for people previously arrested for chalking on the sidewalk. A Facebook event advertised the planned demonstration, apparently named "Chalk Walk."

Police arrived at the intersection shortly before 10 p.m. to move protesters blocking the street. At one point, an unidentified man tossed a glass bottle over his shoulder that landed in front of a line of LAPD officers gathered on Spring Street between 4th and 5th streets. Another  man was shot with what appeared to be a non-lethal weapon, witnesses said.

Police used batons and non-lethal projectiles to disperse the crowd, which in turn threw bottles and cans at officers and chanted, "Whose streets? Our streets!"

Hundreds of officers in riot gear systematically moved the crowd away block by block as people gathered in the windows of nearby apartments and bars to watch and snap cellphone pictures.

"I came down for ArtWalk and it turned into this," said 25-year-old Susan Enci.

[For the Record, 7:24 a.m.: A previous version of this post stated the man who threw a glass bottle that landed in front of police officers had been shot with a non-lethal weapon. It was another man who was hit with the non-lethal weapon.]

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-- Stephen Ceasar and Melissa Leu

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