.

LAPD Evacuates Occupy L.A. From 'Solidarity Park' (Video)

More than 500 police officer completed the raid of the Occupy Los Angeles Camp.

What LAPD couldn't accomplish on Sunday evening, they executed with forceful precision during Wednesday's early morning hours.

LAPD had been given orders by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to evacuate Occupy L.A. protesters from City Hall at 12:01 am on Monday morning, and by 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday, they were close to accomplishing that goal.

Near midnight on Tuesday, some 50 Occupy Los Angeles demonstrators stood face to face with Los Angeles Police Department officers at the intersection of Broadway and 1st Street.

Moments later, with buzz in the air that busloads of LAPD officers wearing riot gear had been dispatched to City Hall from Dodger Stadium, the crowd migrated to Spring and 1st, where they were met by a swarm of more than 1,000 police officers who raced through the intersection toward City Hall Park, or as the demonstrators had renamed it, Solidarity Park.

In matter of seconds, LAPD had formed a perimeter around the park, shoving away demonstrators and media members who attempted to enter.

With the perimeter in place, a second swarm of officers dressed in protective haz-mat suits made their way into the camp, swiftly disassembling the occupiers' tents and makeshift abodes.

While the raid took place, demonstrators who did not heed LAPD's order to evacuate westward along 1st Street were sealed in by police at the intersection of 1st Street and Spring Street. 

Those who remained in the middle of the street were eventually forced onto the sidewalk by officers, who shoved and prodded demonstrators.

At around 1 a.m., those demonstrators inside the camp who were not arrested slowly began to trickle out toward the intersection of 1st and Spring, greeted by light applause from fellow protesters.

Among those to exit the camp was a man named Brandon Wilson, who said he was primarily concerned with homelessness issues and had been camping at Solidarity Park since October.

He said he had been going back and forth from the park and the street throughout the evening, and happened to be caught in the park when police arrived.

"I was with my girl, that's who I'm looking for right now," Wilson said. "When they came, it was like we couldn't go nowhere. They started off kinda rough, but then I told them that I was peaceful, and one of the sergeants told his men to calm down. They eventually just let me get my stuff and go."

Dispersing Crowds on the Street

At around 1:30 a.m. an announcement was made by an LAPD officer via megaphone at the corner of 1st and Spring, alerting any demonstrators in the streets that they were taking part in an unlawful assembly and needed to move to the sidewalks within five minutes or face arrest and the possible deployment of "less than lethal force."

After the five-minute deadline passed, officers rushed toward the crowd, knocking some demonstrators over and shoving others onto the sidewalk. The officers were eventually able to force demonstrators to retreat from the area around City Hall to the intersection of 1st and Broadway--and which point a second, more forceful rush was executed.

Many demonstrators who made their way to the sidewalk found themselves being shoved along by shielded and billy-club wielding officers.

One officer yelled at demonstrators to "get your punk-ass on the sidewalk."

Among the demonstrators who was shoved by officers was 30-year-old Paul Shepherd, who said he was a member of Occupy L.A.'s media team.

Shepherd alleged that he was shoved so hard by one officer that his chest was forced against the handlebars of his bicycle, causing him to nearly topple over.

"You don't need to shove!" Shepherd yelled at officers as he rolled his bike along the sidewalk.

As of 5 a.m. on Wednesday, most of Occupy L.A.'s campers and demonstrators had been evacuated, but officers were still attempting to remove three campers who had set up homes in trees around City Hall.

Previously

Some 500 helmeted Los Angeles Police Department officers burst out of City Hall doors and raced into the Occupy L.A. encampment early Wednesday, while others began arresting a few of the protesters on the south lawn.

Another 1,200 officers remain stationed around the Occupy L.A. encampment but police have moved their skirmish lines in closer to the encampment in advance of clearing out protesters.

You can follow Patch's live blog from the scene here.

As of midnight, officers had arrayed themselves along several downtown streets around the demonstration and by 12:15 had begun to move into the crowd.

Police said an area of unlawful assembly would extend two blocks in each direction from City Hall. Protesters would be given an opportunity to walk away after that occurs.

Thirty Metro buses took the officers from Dodger Stadium to downtown.

Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Andy Neiman said police were also prepared to remove protesters who had climbed into trees.

Neiman seemed confident that the operation would not take long and predicted that on Wednesday it would be "business as usual" downtown.

The city declared last week that residing in the encampment would be unlawful starting 12:01 a.m. Monday, but the widely expected police raid that would have resulted in the removal of the tents and their occupants never occurred, with police Chief Charlie Beck saying Monday that a raid could come later in the week.

Officers will clear the camp when they can "do it effectively and efficiently and with minimal force," he told the Los Angeles Times, asserting that the encampment already had shrunk by 150 tents over recent days and that time was on the department's side.

Attorneys for Occupy L.A. protesters filed court papers Monday asking a federal judge to prevent police from clearing the City Hall camp. The protesters contend the city of Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Beck violated their civil rights by ordering the encampment dismantled.

According to the protesters' attorneys, the south lawn of City Hall is a traditional public forum for First Amendment activity.

kelly thompson November 30, 2011 at 04:58 PM
I thought one of the Occupy media men interviewed on channel 9 made so much sense. He suggests that we not get so caught up on the actual property of city hall. It's now time to move on to phase two of the Occupy Movement. It is just the beginning. The Occupy camps were amazing in doing what they set out to do which was to create awareness, get the general public talking and thinking about our political and banking systems misdeeds and paving the road to change. Bravo to all of those who camped out, got arrested, didn't get arrested, sent food, went for one night, documented events, the list goes on. You have not failed by leaving the park, because of you we will only get stronger as a nation. THANK YOU AND CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR SUCCESS!
Brandt Hardin November 30, 2011 at 07:53 PM
We are being subjected to a police state where protesting is not being tolerated. These evictions exemplify the suppression of our civil liberties including the right to organize, one of the basis rights set forth by our founding fathers. Police brutality is running rampant under orders from Governors who have their pockets lined with Wall Street and Special Interest monies. Stand up and lend your voice with these free posters I was compelled to design on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/11/propaganda-for-occupy-movement.html
James Jimenez December 01, 2011 at 01:19 AM
Good job LAPD. It's about damn time...
Alberto December 08, 2011 at 06:13 PM
I'm sorry Brandt; I love your site and your art but I think it's dishonest to not just protest but to set up a Protest Camp, stay for two months, and then, after all of that and when they are removed - as was always expected - to call it the surest sign of a police state. Not only did OWS organize, it set up shop. Let's stick to the main issues of a loss of respect for personhood, a diminishing middle class, a dismissed lower class, lack of oversight of financial institutions, lack of ethics in the corporate sector, unreasonable expectations on the highest end of the salary ladder... these are our causes. Cops clearing out a park is not one of the issues but, instead, has become a distraction. It's time to reconsider strategy and keep getting Core Issues discussed. Only we can undermine the movement so let's stay focused.
Alberto December 08, 2011 at 06:50 PM
Now this is really interesting: http://myoccupylaarrest.blogspot.com/

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »