Protecting our Rights to Peacefully Demonstrate and Protest
Posted by Councilmember Englander on November 10, 2017 at 11:35 AM
Last week, Council unanimously passed my motion to expand the list of prohibited items at public gatherings in Los Angeles Municipal Code 55.07.
First Amendment events, such as protests and demonstrations that have recently taken place 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 or 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 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 that result in injuries and property damage.
Previously, no person could 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 that cause property damage or injury 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.
As Chair of Public Safety, a reserve officer, and an Angeleno, it 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.
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