Protecting our Right to Peacefully Demonstrate and Protest
Posted by Councilmember Englander on October 20, 2017 at 2:22 PM
This week, I submitted a motion to expand the prohibited items list from LAMC 55.07 as and to include a provision stating that these items are prohibited at public assemblages and public meetings.
First Amendment events, such as protests and demonstrations that have recently taken place in cities such as Berkeley, Charlottesville and St. Louis have all too frequently been interrupted by violent altercations between demonstrators and counter-demonstrators, as well as between demonstrators and law enforcement personnel. As of result of this violence, many First Amendment events have recently resulted in property damage as well as injuries.
When First Amendment events occur in the City of Los Angeles, LAPD is responsible for ensuring that a peaceful and safe demonstration ensues. It is also their responsibility to maintain and/or restore order if necessary in order to protect the public at large. As we have seen in demonstrations around the country, these events are becoming violent more frequently. We are seeing devices such as poles, sticks, signs, as well as certain types of containers, including glass bottles, and many other items used as improvised weapons thus resulting in injuries and property damage. It is important to hear from the LAPD as to what devices are being used with violent intent during First Amendment events as well as what can be done to protect the citizens of Los Angeles should these events occur locally.
Currently, no person can carry or possess any length of lumber, wood, or wood lath more than one-fourth inch in thickness and two inches in width, or if not rectangular, not exceeding three-quarters inch in its thickest dimension. However, the violence we’re seeing in public demonstrations nationwide involve other harmful items to cause injury or damage to demonstrators or law enforcement personnel. Expanding the prohibited list allows the LAPD to mitigate these situations on the front end and proactively ensures the safety of all Los Angeles residents.
We don't have to go far to look at what's happened in our nation and around the world. As Chair of Public Safety, a reserve officer, and an Angelno, is is my priority to protect the residents of the City of Los Angeles. We are looking at best practices and taking steps to ensure the safety of our City before violent altercations occur in our communities.
Click here to read the LA Times article.
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