Archive for Los Angeles Police Department

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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LA Times: “Skid row activists file lawsuit accusing city of stifling dissent”

Posted in civil rights, Media Advisory, press release with tags , , , , , , , on March 11, 2014 by Cangress

Below you will find a Los Angeles Times piece by Gale Holland covering the announcement of the LA CAN lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), Central City East Association (CCEA), Downtown Industrial District Business Improvement District, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, LAPD Lieutenant Shannon Paulson, and former CCEA Executive Director Estela Lopez.

Click HERE for the full press release.

Deborah Burton
By Gale HollandMarch 10, 2014, 4:29 p.m.

A federal civil rights lawsuit filed Monday accuses the city of Los Angeles of malicious prosecution for charging a skid row community organizer with assault after she blew an air horn during a demonstration.

City Atty. Carmen Trutanich charged Deborah Burton, 62, with misdemeanor assault and battery for allegedly blowing the horn in officials’ ears during a 2011 skid row protest. Burton was acquitted of all charges last July. The suit says the charges were aimed at stifling political dissent.

Police conspired with business leaders, distorted crime reports and lied on the witness stand to frame Burton for crimes she did not commit, the suit says.

City Atty. Mike Feuer, who succeeded Trutanich, said in an earlier interview that the Burton claim had no merit.

“We proceeded in that case in a highly professional way,” he said.

LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman said the department would not comment on a pending lawsuit.

The suit, brought by the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles on behalf of Burton and the Los Angeles Community Action Network, also accuses police of harassing and intimidating group members and falsely arresting its leaders.

The actions were designed to silence the group’s protests against the displacement and “criminalization” of poor residents of skid row, the densest concentration of homeless and extremely low-income people in the country, the suit says.

“Many business interests and the City officials who support them apparently see the existence of high concentrations of poor people in the area, especially African American men and the highly visible homeless population, as an obstacle to planned business expansion and development,” says the suit.

Also named in the suit are the Downtown Industrial District Business Improvement District, whose security guards patrol skid row on bikes; Central City East Assn. and its former director, Estela Lopez, who ran the improvement district; the Los Angeles Police Department; Police Chief Charlie Beck; and Lt. Shannon Paulson.

“Really, the city should have been helping them fight against homelessness, not put every barrier in their way and blatantly violate their 1st Amendment rights,” said Legal Aid Foundation attorney Barbara Schultz.

The suit seeks an injunction to halt interference with L.A. Community Action Network’s civil and constitutional rights; a declaration that the rights of Burton and her group were violated; and general, special and punitive damages. It was filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

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 ( — 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.

LAPD Shooting on Skid Row: The number of bullet holes and their locations lead to more questions.

Posted in anti-violence, human & civil rights, LAPD with tags , , , , , on May 3, 2013 by Cangress

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Eyewitness accounts describe harrowing moments of contagious fire and lack of concern for residents. Additionally, eyewitnesses are outraged because LAPD Officers continued to shoot Kenny while he was down and clearly unable to move; and, putting an entire community at risk while doing so. Thus far local media reports have been incomplete and driven largely by LAPD statements. However, eyewitness accounts and physical evidence at the scene of the shooting suggests that there is more here than meets the eye. Stay tuned, we will report the facts as we get them.

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.

LAPD Police Presence on Main St. Continues to Escalate, Two LA CAN Members Arrested (New Photos Added)

Posted in civil rights with tags , , , , , on April 3, 2013 by Cangress

Over the last few weeks, we have seen an increase in LAPD presence and hostile policing on Main St. in Downtown.

This dangerous trend continued late last night when a large group of officers began roughing up  a couple of black female residents.

LA CAN members were standing on the sidewalk talking when they noticed a squad car approach at a high rate of speed and stop a few buildings from where they stood. Two male officers exited their vehicle and threw two African American/Black females against the wall. One officer (the same officer in the video who says its okay to video and simultaneously leads the charge to arrest Bilal Ali & “Colonel”) takes one of the females between two buildings out of the sight of the general public. Shortly thereafter he aggressively slammed her to the ground in full view of residents and LA CAN members who were rightly outraged.  LA CAN members were on hand to video and document the altercation. And when the officers decided they did not like that, they had two of our members arrested.

Why would a male officer move a female suspect into this secluded space in the dead of night? And, what did he do that led to her being slammed forcefully to the ground?

Why would a male officer move a female suspect into this secluded space in the dead of night? And, what did he do that led to her being slammed forcefully to the ground?

This type biased and violent policing has only increased since the Safer Cities Initiative was implemented in 2006. And long-term, low-income residents who have stood up and resisted have been met with repression and constant harassment. But we remain undeterred. We will not sit back and allow LAPD to intimidate and attack our community.

OFFICERS INVOLVED: (This is a short list because the LAPD routinely refuses to identify ALL officers at the scene)

Officer Rodriguez #36345

Officer Loza #39934

Sgt Severns #33807

LT. Melro #31240

Update: Friday, April 05, 2013

The female who was slammed to the ground was released from custody. . She visited LA CAN today and inquired about the well-being of residents present, and arrested, after they demanded the LAPD to stop abusing her. She reported to LA CAN that no charges were filed against her. She had visible injuries, consistent with the abuse that witnesses reported, and is rightly upset about the physical mistreatment she endured.

This is the picture (taken by Bilal Ali) that enraged the LAPD officer and ultimately led to the arrest of residents.

This is the picture (taken by Bilal Ali) that enraged the LAPD officer and ultimately led to the arrest of residents.

Immediately after the female suspect was slammed to the ground by male officers. (Photo taken by Bilal Ali)
Immediately after the female suspect was slammed to the ground by male officers. (Photo taken by Bilal Ali)

















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.

Over 25 Squad Cars and 50 LAPD Officers Deployed in Skid Row Last Night – Does This Make the Community Safer?

Posted in civil rights, video with tags , , , , , , on February 8, 2013 by Cangress

Los Angeles-20130206-00074

Last night, February 6, was the first Wednesday of the month – the day that up to a few months ago was designated for the so-called “Skid Row Safety Walk” by the Central City East Association. LA CAN has continued using the first Wednesday of the month for a real, community-based public safety walk that engages residents in current health and safety projects, and promotes participation in our other human rights work.

However, around 6 pm it was clear that the police presence was unusually high, even for Skid Row. On Wall St. there were 20-25 squad cars and 50+ LAPD officers outside of Central Division. As we continued our walk, we saw dozens of instances of LAPD officers pulling up on residents, cuffing them, and rifling through their personal possessions for extended periods of time. More often than not, these residents were then uncuffed and left to re-organize their possessions without any explanation for why they were detained.

This pattern continued today as our Community Watch police monitoring team documented at least 10 incidents in less than an hour.

It is clear that there has been an enforcement policy change in recent days. The amount of harassment and civil rights violations that have occurred in the last week are above their regularly high rates, and the constant LAPD presence on every corner from Main St. to Central has only exacerbated tensions and escalated the feeling of occupation that has come to characterize our community.  Our community will not accept this and we will fight back against this resurgence of the occupation of Skid Row.

LA CAN remains steadfast in its dedication to defending the human and civil rights of Skid Row residents – and we will respond accordingly by documenting this surge in policy presence, educating residents to know their rights and to defend them, and organizing our community to stop the abusive, racist policing in Downtown LA.

Los Angeles-20130206-00076