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19 arrested, 4 officers injured in downtown L.A. ArtWalk clashes

July 13, 2012 |  6:39 am


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

Los Angeles police arrested 19 people after several hours of clashes with protesters during downtown L.A.'s popular monthly ArtWalk event, authorities said.

Four officers were hurt and treated for minor injuries in the Thursday night incidents. One officer suffered a minor concussion after being hit in the head by an object thrown by the crowd, police sources said.

Officials said nine of those arrested were booked on vandalism charges, three were booked for assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, two for failure to disperse, two for resisting arrest, two for blocking traffic and one for attempted assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer.

PHOTOS: Confrontation at downtown L.A. ArtWalk

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

A woman who identified herself as part of Occupy L.A. said protesters attended the ArtWalk 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."

"Free chalk. Free speech," said Sonny Estrada, 22, who considered himself part of Occupy L.A.

Police arrived at the intersection shortly before 10 p.m. to disperse crowds that had gathered on Spring Street between 4th and 5th streets. At one point, an unidentified man tossed a glass bottle over his shoulder that landed in front of a line of LAPD officers.

As the police line moved north on Spring Street, a 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 here for the ArtWalk, instead I'm getting street theater from the LAPD," said 50-year-old Barrie Wild.

[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.]


Downtown L.A. clears after confrontation breaks out at ArtWalk

LAPD, Occupy protesters clash over chalk-drawing demonstration

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

-- Melissa Leu and Stephen Caesar
twitter.com/Melissa Leu