Los Angeles, CA – Protests in front of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s home became violent on Sunday, the 13th consecutive day of demonstrators protesting the mayor’s potential appointment to Joe Biden’s cabinet.
Protesters have been very critical of Garcetti’s handling of homelessness and public transportation and said they wanted to deliver a message to Biden not to appoint the Los Angeles mayor to his administration, KCAL reported.
On Monday, Garcetti was appointed to Biden’s inaugural committee, KCAL reported.
The protests were organized by Black Lives Matter and Ground Game LA, and both groups have committed to protesting daily until Biden promises not to appoint Garcetti to any post.
On Sunday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was chosen to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, KCAL reported.
The daily protests in front of the mayor’s home started out peaceful but on Dec. 6, things went sideways.
Black Lives Matter Los Angeles claimed “LAPD advanced without warning and violently attacked us,” KTLA reported.
But Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) spokeswoman Melissa Podany said that wasn’t what happened at all.
Podany said officers were “in crowd management mode” and then somebody started using a bullhorn, KTLA reported.
The bullhorn in a residential neighborhood violated municipal code so officers attempted to arrest that protester.
Podany said that’s when the crowd turned on the police and “moved in on officers, punching, pushing and kicking at officers,” KTLA reported.
She said officers had to declare an unlawful assembly.
Police made one arrest during the incident, KTLA reported.
Podany said they arrested one person on suspicion of removing another person from police custody.
That person was Jamie Penn, the Sub-District 3 representative for the Wilshire Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council, the Los Angeles Times reported.
LAPD responds to 13th straight day of #blockgarcetti protests outside of mayor’s residence.
Protesters are fighting a Garcetti appointment to a Biden cabinet bc of his handling of issues like homelessness, transportation. pic.twitter.com/mqnoxjLcrM
— Josie Huang (@josie_huang) December 6, 2020
Penn said she was working as a “street medic” and was trying to protect and older protesters when she was arrested, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“I don’t know how the person could have been arrested for attempting to intervene in an arrest when no one was arrested, no one was doing anything that was illegal or violent,” BLM L.A. cofounder Melina Abdullah complained to KTLA.
Abdullah said that protesters had been told they would be fine if they stayed on the other side of the street.
“They basically ambushed us and swung their batons,” Abdullah claimed.
She claimed that LAPD officers had advanced on the protesters “without cause,” KTLA reported.
Abdullah claimed it was a peaceful gathering of protesters praying and breathing together, and that some participants had even brought children to protest at the mayor’s home.
“We had two people who were hospitalized, we had someone who had her teeth knocked out,” she said. “We had elders who were tackled to the ground —over 70 years old— tackled and pinned on the ground.”
The protesters have no plans to stop their demonstrations, KTLA reported.
Local officials were very critical of LAPD’s handling of the incident.
“There is no acceptable justification for LAPD to use force against Angelenos who are peacefully exercising their right to free speech,” Los Angeles City Councilwoman-Elect Nithya Raman tweeted.
With regards to events at the Mayor's house this afternoon: pic.twitter.com/JGrXw71qei
— Wendy Carrillo (@AsmCarrillo) December 7, 2020
California Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo said the LAPD needed to take things down a notch because the “right to peacefully protest is a First Amendment Right that is sacred.”
“I urge LAPD to restrain from use of force, practice de-escalation tactics and ultimately, protect the public,” Carrillo tweeted. “Peaceful protests should not lead to police in riot gear making arrests amid COVID-19.”
Despite the ongoing protests at his home, the mayor was thrilled to be chosen for the Inaugural Committee, KCAL reported.
“I am honored to join the Presidential Inaugural Committee as a Co-Chair to help organize a historic inauguration for President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris that will engage Americans in every corner of the country and keep people safe,” Garcetti said in a written statement.
“This inauguration will mark a turning point for Americans to unite and start building back better together, for generations to come,” the statement continued. “As we grapple with threats to our health, livelihoods and climate, this is a time for Americans to come together, work together and move forward together.”