City Attorney Seeks To Ban Occupy Arrestees From City Hall
LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The city attorney’s office recommended Friday that 46 people charged with crimes related to the LAPD raid on the Occupy L.A. encampment not be allowed back to City Hall to continue protesting.
Charges were filed against protesters who either resisted arrest or had prior criminal records.
“We believe it is appropriate since they were arrested for violating the law in that area that they be ordered by the court not to go back to that area,” said Criminal Division Chief Earl Thomas.
He likened it to a husband accused of beating his wife, saying it would be reasonable to request the husband not be allowed to be near his wife.
“It’s also appropriate because of the length of time they spent at the location and the damage done and that many people have clearly indicated they intend to continue demonstrations and to come back to City Hall,” Thomas said.
He said the court had the final decision whether to grant that requirement. In some cases judges had already rejected the recommendation.
A total of 46 people who were arrested during the raid were charged with misdemeanor crimes.
Thomas said the 46 were charged with failure to disperse from an unlawful assembly, and many of them were also charged with resisting arrest.
The LAPD arrested a total of 291 people during Wednesday’s pre-dawn raid on the encampment, which was set up on Oct. 1.
The court set bail in amounts ranging from $5,000 for most of the defendants, to as high as $20,000.
Fifty-eight people arrested had already posted bail or were released by the LAPD. Thomas said his office has more time to review those cases and was likely to file charges against some of them.
An additional 187 protesters without prior criminal records, and who were accused simply of failing to disperse but were not charged, were released without bail. They will have to pay a $375-$400 fee and take a 90-day program given by American Justice Associates focused on the balance between public rights and individual free speech rights, according to Thomas.
Charges can be filed within one year if the program is not completed or if the defendant commits another crime.
One protester, Tyson Header, was charged with battery on a peace officer, assault on a peace officer and resisting arrest for allegedly spitting on an officer and resisting arrest.
Videos of Header’s arrest have been circulating on the Internet, showing Header taking photos of the police raid as it was happening. An officer can be seen shoving him to the ground. Header then jumps up and demands the officer’s name, then uses profanity before being subdued by a number of officers.
The Occupy L.A. group had been given notice by Mayor Villaraigosa that they must evacuate the park where they had set up camp some seven weeks prior.
The park was closed for cleanup and repairs following the raid Wednesday.
Contrary to the city attorney’s new recommendation, Villaraigosa has said protesters would still be welcome to demonstrate outside City Hall during park hours.
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