Archive for Deborah Burton

Footage and Coverage of LA CAN Press Conference on LAPD Lawsuit

Posted in press coverage with tags , , , , , , , on March 12, 2014 by Cangress
Yesterday morning in front of LAPD Headquarters the Los Angeles Community Action Network announced our lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles, LAPD, and the Central City East Association because of their coordinated efforts to silence LA CAN, prevent us from exercising our first amendment rights, and their malicious acts that resulted in the wrongful prosecution of one of LA CAN’s longest term organizers, Deborah Burton.
Click HERE (or on the photo to the left) to read the Los Angeles Times article covering the announcement.

This lawsuit is a result of years of unfair and unjust targeting of LA CAN staff and members by LAPD, a long history of retaliation against us for fiercely and loudly opposing LAPD’s racist Safer Cities Initiative in Skid Row, and, more recently, their efforts to even more blatantly favor the Downtown business community’s position by stifling our right to protest and manufacturing charges against our staff.Through all of the attempts to criminalize us and silence us, LA CAN leaders and members remain unified and strong.  We will continue to organize, continue to protest when needed, and we are hopeful the federal courts will uphold our constitutional rights and direct the City and LAPD to change their tactics, since all efforts at engaging with City officials to stop the years of harassment have failed.

Click HERE to read the official LA CAN Press Conference Statement in its entirety.

Click HERE to view the press packet, which includes the Press Release and a copy of the lawsuit, as well as a few key photos and emails from LAPD Officer Shannon Paulson to employees of the Central City East Association. These documents only scratch the surface of the coordinated effort to prevent LA CAN from exercising our constitutional rights.

Additional Coverage:
Equal Voice, “Los Angeles Group Files Civil Rights Suit Against Police”
Annenberg TV News, “Activist Sues City of LA”

Photos: LA CAN Announces Lawsuit Against City and LAPD

Posted in photos, press coverage with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2014 by Cangress

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Deborah Burton Not Guilty on All Charges!

Posted in civil rights, human & civil rights, LAPD, organizing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2013 by Cangress

Jurors reported afterward that they did not find Estela Lopez of the CCEA or LAPD Lieutenant Shannon Paulson to be credible witnesses

We hope July 11 ends the years of targeted efforts by the LAPD and LA’s City Attorney to criminalize organizing, dissent and public protest by LA CAN and dozens of other organizations across Los Angeles.  We know the tactic of criminalizing political movements goes well into our history and well beyond Los Angeles – but yesterday marked a key victory in preventing these attacks on those working for justice.

Yesterday afternoon, a jury found Deborah Burton not guilty on 8 charges of assault and battery, including the “lesser charges” the City Attorney was able to include in the jury instructions.  These unjust charges stemmed from a legal protest of the Central City East Association’s public safety walk in June 2011.  Charges were filed in August 2012 and Deborah has shouldered this burden on behalf of LA CAN and the social justice movement in Los Angeles since then.  She stood strong and firm, and truth and justice prevailed!

LA CAN is proud to have Deborah as a long time member and organizer – she continues to demonstrate on a daily basis what commitment, dedication, compassion and bravery look like as she works to defend and promote human rights in Downtown and South LA.  We thank all of our members, staff, Board, community partners, and others who supported us leading up to and during this case.  We express deepest gratitude to John Raphling, who defended Deborah and continues to provide much needed legal representation to community organizers and activists in Los Angeles.

We are all Deborah Burton!  And we are all NOT GUILTY!

group picture after verdict

See community partner’s perspective at NESRI’s blog HERE.

Visit past blog posts for more information on this case – such as HERE and HERE.

After Dozens of Human Rights Defenders Shut Out by Public Officials Yesterday, Unjust Trial of Deborah Burton Started Today

Posted in civil rights, human & civil rights, LAPD, organizing, photos, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 27, 2013 by Cangress

On Tuesday morning, June 25, dozens of human rights defenders gathered in front of LAPD Headquarters in the early hours to again demand that Police Commissioners investigate the evidence submitted in the case against LA CAN organizer Deborah Burton, and later to deliver signed petitions to the City Attorney to demand he drop this case.

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(see past blog posts for more details:  https://cangress.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/cbs-2-protestors-demand-lapd-investigate-charges-against-community-organizer/ and https://cangress.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/deborah-burtons-trial-expected-in-late-april-these-unjust-charges-should-be-dropped/)

LAPD officers refused to let the large majority of our group into the Commission hearing room, though there were many empty chairs.  LAPD then lined the door to City Hall East and refused to let people in the public building to make a request to deliver the petitions to the City Attorney’s office.

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Though City officials who could have intervened to stop these ridiculous and unsubstantiated charges from going forward did nothing but hide from the truth, Deborah and all of her supporters stood confident and tall this morning as trial proceedings begin.  We know the truth is on our side, but we also too deeply understand the criminal in-justice system’s impacts on people of color.  We remain hopeful that justice will prevail.

Contact beckyd@cangress.org to help with court support.  Below, Frank Stoltze of KPCC interviews Deborah about the case.

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CBS 2: “Protestors Demand LAPD Investigate Charges Against Community Organizer”

Posted in civil rights with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2013 by Cangress

Click HERE to view CBS 2 Coverage of today’s action.

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Dozens of human rights protestors gathered Tuesday morning to protest charges filed against a community organizer.

The group marched into a Los Angeles Commission board meeting at 9 a.m. at the LAPD Headquarters at 110 W. 1st St.

The organizers were demanding the LAPD Commission investigate the case against 62-year-old Deborah Burton, who has been charged with three counts of assault for alleged actions during a protest.

“It’s a cloud hanging over my head, because I didn’t do anything wrong,” Burton said.

Burton was charged in August 2012 for her actions at a legal protest in June 2011.

“You can absolutely see there is a conspiracy against Los Angeles Community Action Network and human rights organizers and defenders,” protest organizer Hamid Khan said. “We’re demanding that the abuse of power and the charges be dropped by the Los Angeles Police Commission.”

The protestors are asking the LAPD to investigate the case, rescind what they call “faulty evidence” and drop all charges against Burton.

LAPD Commander Andrew Smith says the organizers have a right to let themselves be heard, but the department has no comment regarding the issue.

Burton’s trial is set to begin on June 26.

The community-based organizations involved include: Dream Team LA, IDEPSCA, Immigrant Youth Coalition, Labor/Community Strategy Center, Los Angeles Anti-Eviction Campaign, Los Angeles Community Action Network, Los Angeles Human Right to Housing Collective, POWER, Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, Union de Vecinos and Youth Justice Coalition.

The June/July 2013 Community Connection is NOW AVAILABLE!

Posted in community connection with tags , , , , on June 14, 2013 by Cangress

Cover CC June Juluy 2013

Click on the Photo above to read the June/July 2013.

You can also view a high resolution PDF version HERE.

Professor Christine Petit Demands that the Charges Against Deborah Burton to be DROPPED!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 3, 2013 by Cangress

For more information on the unjust charges against Deborah Burton, click HERE.

Community Support for Deborah Burton Continues to Grow

Posted in civil rights, URGENT ACTION with tags , , , , , on March 28, 2013 by Cangress

Deborah Burton is just the latest target of the City Attorney’s ongoing campaign to squash protest and political dissent in Los Angeles, including other LA CAN members.

Deborah, a longtime LA CAN member and organizer, has been unjustly charged with three counts of assault for alleged actions during a legal protest in April 2011. She was not charged until August 2012, 16 months later, and public records show that in the interim months LAPD and the Central City East Association actively lobbied the City Attorney to criminally charge LA CAN members involved in a monthly protest of the CCEA’s “Skid Row Walk.”

To learn more about Deborah’s case, click HERE. Stay tuned for more information!

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Deborah Burton’s Trial Expected in Late April – These Unjust Charges Should be Dropped!

Posted in civil rights, Uncategorized, video with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2013 by Cangress

Yesterday, LA CAN was featured on Voices on the Frontlines with Eric Mann. Listen below to find out more about the coordinated efforts of CCEA, LAPD, and the City Attorney to silence the human rights work of LA CAN.

Deborah Burton, longtime LA CAN member and organizer, has been unjustly charged with three counts of assault for alleged actions during a legal protest in June 2011. She was not charged until August 2012, 14 months later, and public records show that in the interim months LAPD and the Central City East Association actively lobbied the City Attorney to criminally charge LA CAN members involved in a monthly protest of the CCEA’s “Skid Row Walk.” Deborah is just the latest target of the City Attorney’s ongoing campaign to squash protest and political dissent in Los Angeles, including other LA CAN members.

Since 2006, LA CAN has led the charge against LAPD’s Safer Cities Initiative (SCI), which has brought up to 150 additional cops into the Skid Row community and resulted in mass criminalization of homeless and poor, mostly African American, residents. In 2011, LA CAN and partners began protesting the CCEA’s “Skid Row Walk” because it was a tool to promote SCI, perpetuated myths about homeless people, and lacked the voice and participation of community residents.

Immediately after we began our protests, the CCEA, LAPD, and the City Attorney’s office began coordinating and strategizing on ways to stop LA CAN’s opposition to the walk. The quotes below, from emails obtained through Public Records Request, begin to shine light on just how CCEA was trying to use LAPD and the City Attorney to criminalize first amendment rights.

In one email in April 2011, CCEA’s Estela Lopez assures her colleagues that the City Attorney informed her that “they would explore all legal options to protect us and allow us to conduct our walk without interference from LA CAN.”   In another email sent on June 1, 2011 — the evening of the purported assault — Estela confirms they were able to complete their walk “as planned” and never mentions being assaulted or injured by Ms. Burton or anyone else from LA CAN.   In a July 2011 email from LAPD’s Lieutenant Paulson, she tells the City Attorney that she needs information about the filing and documentation of cases related to the public safety walk because “This is going to be an ongoing problem until it gets too costly for them.”

Stay tuned for more information about the documents obtained.

The targeting of LA CAN members exercising first amendment rights by LAPD, at the demand of business leaders, is clearly unjust. The City Attorney should not prosecute this unsubstantiated case and should not continue his past history of criminalizing protest and first amendment rights.

LA CAN members and supporters will be calling on the City Attorney over the coming weeks to drop these charges and not pursue this trial. Please join us! You can call the City Attorney’s office directly (213-978-8100) and/or stay tuned for other ways to get involved by spreading the word through social media and other public actions.

Guess Who Went to CCA Mayoral Candidate Breakfast?

Posted in organizing, politics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 1, 2012 by Cangress

WE DID!

The Central City Association (CCA) has enjoyed years of unchallenged privilege in deciding the fate of Downtown Los Angeles. Gentrification, mass incarceration and outright banishment to ensure massive profits are but a few tools promoted by CCA and used at the expense of longtime low-income residents of Downtown.  Additionally, because they pump massive resources into the Los Angeles political infrastructure, they usually face little to no resistance while they roll out their visions.

While LA CAN does not enjoy a bottomless pit of financial resources like the CCA, we make up for it with people power, resilience, resistance and community-based innovation.  We have successfully pushed back against the CCA’s vision for Downtown for 10 years, including efforts to ensure that low-income housing is preserved and increased, and that everyone’s civil rights are upheld.

We continued this battle yesterday when we showed up to promote our Share the Wealth vision for Downtown and also insist that Mayoral Candidate Garcetti meet with low-income community members, instead of only listening to the CCA’s ideas for Downtown LA.  The CCA’s “Downtown 2020” plan is racist, classist and exclusionary – focusing on more criminalization and calling for no more affordable housing in Downtown.  Alternatively, LA CAN’s Share the Wealth platform ensures that Downtown is for everyone and that long-time low-income Downtown residents are included in all plans and decisions.

We will present our Share the Wealth vision to Councilmember Garcetti at our upcoming breakfast meeting with him.

LA CAN members posted up at the back door so that all CCA attendees saw and heard our message

…meanwhile, out front…

Residents held a community-based  breakfast complete with street theater and healthy food options.

Returning to the rear exit…

After CCA and BID security made several unsuccessful attempts to remove us from spaces near the back exit…

…Deborah Burton and other LA CAN members held their ground and secured a commitment for a breakfast forum with our community and Councilmember Garcetti.

STAY TUNED