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Occupy L.A. protester accused of biting security guard's ear

NavarroA protester associated with Occupy L.A. was arrested after he seriously injured a security guard by biting his ear during a fight in downtown's Pershing Square, police said.

Los Angeles police sources said the incident began when Jose Navarro, 20, approached a private security guard Tuesday and began yelling at him. At one point, Navarro allegedly spat on the guard and punched him, sparking a scuffle that drew additional security to the area.

As the guards tried to take Navarro into custody, he allegedly bit the ear of the first security guard, clamping down until he was pulled off, sources said. Navarro was able to break free from the group and, with the help of others, run away.

The guard suffered a two-inch gash to his ear that required a half-dozen stitches to close, sources said.

Navarro was spotted in the square Thursday morning and arrested after LAPD officers cornered him in a nearby parking garage. Sources said he lowered his shoulder and unsuccessfully tried to run through police before he was taken into custody.

An LAPD flyer identified Navarro as "an associate of Occupy L.A." known to frequent the square. The flier said he has previous arrests for resisting police; jail records showed he was also arrested in July.

Pershing Square has become a source of concern for LAPD in recent weeks as officers have noted an increase in drinking and narcotics use, along with public defecation, police sources said. Crime is up "significantly" in the area, they added, and more LAPD officers and private security have been shifted to the area as a result.

But those authorities, along with firefighters, have faced increasing hostility when called to the square, sources said.

Pershing Square has been the base of Occupy L.A.'s operations since protesters were cleared off City Hall's lawn last winter. Two people were arrested at the square a week ago: One man on an outstanding warrant and a protester accused of assaulting a member of Occupy Oakland during a fight over the quality of the Los Angeles man's chalking.

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— Andrew Blankstein and Kate Mather

Photo: Jose Navarro; credit: Los Angeles Police Department

 
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