“The next thing I heard was the shotguns” 3 May 2007Posted by marisacat in Border Issues, California / Pacific Coast.
Police used batons and fired rubber bullets to control a crowd gathered at the end of an immigrant rights march in MacArthur Park. (Rick Loomis / LAT)
“I was dumbfounded,” said the KPCC reporter, Patricia Nazario. “I’ve covered riots. I’ve covered chaos. I was never hit or struck or humiliated the way the LAPD violated me yesterday.”
Nazario said she was walking away from riot police when she was hit in the back.
Wearing a press pass and holding a microphone, she turned around and told the officer, “Why did you hit me? I’m moving. I’m a reporter,” Nazario recalled.
Then the officer hit her on the left leg, she said, knocking her to the ground and sending her cellphone flying.
“I was shocked, trying to scramble to my feet,” she said. “At that point, I just started crying…. I just felt totally vulnerable.”
Pedro Sevcec was anchoring the evening news for Telemundo when he saw the riot police moving slowly toward the news crews.
A few dozen people had gathered to watch Sevcec do his live broadcast.
“The next thing I heard was the shotguns,” he said.
Police knocked over monitors and lights and hit reporters and camera operators with batons, he said.
Sevcec said police hit him three times and pointed a riot gun at his face before pushing him out of the park.
A police officer takes aim at crowds gathered in MacArthur Park Tuesday afternoon. (Rick Loomis LAT)
And, well, fine, but that [police going after reporters and crew] is not all that happened. I think Bratton is attempting a little diversion:
Police Chief William J. Bratton, who promised an investigation, said at a news conference Wednesday that a key part of the inquiry into the officers’ actions would focus on why they used force against members of the media.
“We should never be engaged in attacking anyone in the media,” Bratton said.
… yes, let’s give another of Rudy’s finest (Bratton and Guiliani did not get along, but perhaps too much was made of that) the benefit of the doubt. We can always endure another blue ribbon commission.
LAT has several pieces up on the events in MacArthur Park… link to officials, activists commentary and eyewitness recollections:
Maritza Alvarez, 36, a filmmaker who was at the northwest corner of MacArthur Park:
“I had a long lens and was able to see a rush of people running into the park. I can tell you [the police] were just shooting indiscriminately. I saw them beat up an elderly man, they knocked his knees down, children were crying. … I’m telling you, it was military-style, there was a commander there saying, ‘One, two, shoot,’ and we were trying to duck behind trees, running. We had to hide behind the stage at one point, we couldn’t even turn our backs. They’re lying when they said they warned us. There was no warning at all.”
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is traveling in El Salvador:
“Yesterday, across the country, we witnessed a day of overwhelmingly peaceful speeches and assemblies in the best American tradition. … Any time that our law enforcement officials employ force, the public has an absolute and unqualified right to expect and demand an aggressive review of the facts. This review is already underway.”
LAPD Chief William J. Bratton:
“Police use of force in any context is always visibly and emotionally upsetting, even when necessary and lawful. Our challenge in reviewing and investigating the actions of the department and its officers and that of the public is to determine if that use of force was an appropriate response to the level of threat, disturbance and danger that they are encountering.”
Blue ribboned commissions headed our way… as I poke around and find other posts on the May Day will throw them up on the page…
Demonstrators stand their ground during a confrontation with police at the end of an immigrant rights march in MacArthur Park. (Rick Loomis / LAT)
I also wanted to pull a comment of Madman’s forward, with a link to a report on the AL militia men who were arrested recently…
Madman in the Marketplace:
before I head to work:
Five members of a self-styled militia were denied bail Tuesday after a federal agent testified they planned a machine gun attack on Mexicans, but a judge approved bail for a sixth man.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Armstrong said he could not grant bail to the five because of the agent’s testimony and the amount of weapons — including about 200 homemade hand grenades — that were seized in raids Friday in northeast Alabama.
“I’m going to be worried if I let these individuals go at this time,” he said.
Adam Nesmith, an agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, testified that the five — Raymond Kirk Dillard, 46; Adam Lynn Cunningham, 41; Bonnell Hughes, 57; Randall Garrett Cole, 22; and James Ray McElroy, 20 — planned a machine-gun attack on Mexicans in Remlap, a town just north of Birmingham, and went there on a reconnaissance mission April 20. The agent provided no further details.
During the raids last week, agents recovered 130 homemade hand grenades, a grenade launcher, about 70 hand grenades rigged to be fired from a rifle, a machine gun, a short-barrel shotgun and 2,500 rounds of ammunition, authorities said. [snip]
The judge approved $10,000 bail for the sixth defendant, 30-year-old Michael Wayne Bobo, at a later hearing. Bobo, who is being kept in custody until at least Wednesday, was charged with being a drug user in possession of a firearm. The other five were charged with conspiring to make a firearm.
ATF agent Larry Alt testified that investigators who searched Bobo’s home found two rooms loaded with guns and possible explosives components, including fireworks, ball bearings, primers, mouse traps, light bulbs and fertilizer. The man lived in two upstairs rooms in his parents’ home in Trusville, Alt testified.
If they weren’t righties they’d be in a navy brig right now in solitary cells, naked and freezing. This was a terrorist cell, plain and simple, and should be treated as more serious than a bunch of rednecks with a hobby of making homemade weapons.
*** end of text of Madman comment ***
last, something a little lighthearted, aemd had posted a link to the scheme for smileys in WordPress… you know times are desperado when we are down to smileys:
Emoticons in wordpress. Don’t know if they all will work as shown but it gives me a good excuse to play around.
UPDATE, 1:14 pm
Basically everyone is out of the park, and they are still firing.—Narrator of video taken at May Day 2007 police action
Unapologetic Mexican weighs in:
[T]hey have done what they wanted, made their mark, instilled fear. And despite what they say, they didn’t do this because some people stepped off the sidewalk, bullshit. We know why the cops were there and in such gear, and with such attitudes and agendas. The government fears the numbers they saw last year on 2006. In 2006 we actually showed, lived out, demonstrated the Power of the People, and it scared the living shit out of our keepers. Because America is only about the Power of the People in word. That’s advertising to keep us defending our jailers, paying our taxes, and joining the
grindermilitary. America is really about the Power of the Few. And the Power of the Gun. And the Power of the Dollar. And the Power of the Lie. [snip]
He has photos from the day as he was at the Southern corner of the park… and videos up as well…
Wonderful, strong writing:
A naked display of violence acted out upon the powerless by the power-holders in violation with the bedrock of our codified “rights,” and today the blogs and news sites discuss Republican debates, TV-shapes, and one of the many wars we started overseas. Wars started in the name of preserving our Freedoms and Laws. Which were, yesterday, mocked and made irrelevant. They will excuse endangering lives and causing blind panic to break out and military type formations of tear gassing, rubber bullet firing battallions because people “stepped off the sidewalk.” We know what this means. It’s like when someone walks into a bar or a gathering of other people and insults and pushes around people until he gets them to glare or raise a hand or stand up. Then the bully gleefully engages in the fight they wanted so badly the whole time. The one they lacked the courage to outright state was their goal. It’s what I call the “Rio Grande” method of beat-down, for my own reasons.