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Ten charged in connection with Century City protest by laid-off janitors

September 20, 2010 |  2:51 pm

City prosecutors charged 10 people for illegally blocking streets and failing to disperse in Century City last August during a protest by laid-off janitors.

Edward Flores, Gregory Sawyer, Edward Iny, Jennifer Gutierrez, Raphael Leib, Enrique Gaspar, Julia Paskin, Adaneli Camacho, Kimberly Contreras and Myrian Montgomery were each charged Friday with refusing to disperse from an unlawful assembly and blocking the street.

The defendants are to be arraigned Oct. 14. Each could face up to one year in jail and/or up to a $2,000 fine if convicted.

The Aug. 26 protest was prompted by the layoff of 16 janitors employed by a custodial company contracted to Century Plaza Tower and 2000 Avenue of the Stars — both owned by J.P. Morgan Chase and home to some of the richest tenants in Los Angeles.

The demonstrators gathered near the intersection of Avenue of the Stars and Constellation Boulevard but refused orders to disperse in a timely manner, prosecutors said.

"After allowing demonstrators to exercise their 1st Amendment rights of assembly, law enforcement officers announced that the crowd was to disperse," the city attorney's office said in a statement. "The 10 named defendants in the case decided to remain in the area, sitting with locked hands in the street, causing further traffic delays. After repeated warnings to leave, officers were forced to arrest the individuals and remove them from the area."

-- Andrew Blankstein