Discriminatory Enforcement on Main Street Hits a New Low — Sitting in Your Own Wheelchair No Longer Allowed??!!
This morning, LA CAN observed LAPD Officer Janata telling three longtime Skid Row residents who were near the corner of 5th and Main that they could not be on the sidewalk and had to leave. He told them they were not allowed to sit on the sidewalk between 6 am and 9 pm. These three men were sitting down – but in their own wheelchairs! At one point, 2 private security guards and 7 officers were on scene in response to …… no crime at all. This over-response of law enforcement lasted about 30 minutes – all because 3 low-income Black men defended their rights and were not going to be scared off just because security guards and LAPD wrongfully told them they had to move. Finally, an LAPD Sergeant arrived who upheld the actual law and informed the men that they could remain on the sidewalk as long as they were not blocking foot traffic or any doors. However, the Sergeant would not respond to a complaint by an LA CAN member on site that Officer Janata had said the exact opposite. In fact, Sgt. Ramirez said that technically the men were violating the law by sitting down (LAMC 41.18d), but of course they would “let” them sit in their wheelchairs if they had to. No matter the amount of security and police, low-income people of color will continue to resist the oppression and enjoy public space in Downtown LA.