LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Face-to-face with hundreds of protesters in Beverly Hills, police deployed tear gas after making repeated attempts to have the crowd disperse on their own following the city’s mandated curfew.
The tear gas deployment sent hundreds running, including a CBS2 news crew there on assignment covering the protests, when a cloud of tear gas enveloped their area.
“We were among them, we were also running, trying to get away from the cloud of tear gas,” said Laurie Perez, a reporter for CBS Los Angeles. “It really hit us hard. It really hit us hard, it was very uncomfortable and very painful. It sent us into a lot of distress.”
Perez cautioned that the tear gas was only deployed after hours of officers warning the crowd that the protest had been declared an unlawful assembly. Officers made numerous calls to have the crowd disperse.
“Certainly as the curfew, that 8 o’clock curfew came to head, they said, ‘you need to move out, or face possibly getting arrested, or face enforcement,’ ” Perez said. “That enforcement came in the manner of tear gas.”
Perez, who has covered other riots and demonstrations throughout the country, has experienced tear gas before but described this instance as among the worst.
“It might have been our proximity to where the police were, but it definitely hit me much harder than it has in the past. I really was having a lot of trouble breathing, and as you can imagine, you start to panic a little bit because that is such an uncomfortable sensation of not being able to breath.”
Those around her attempted to assist her.
“Thankfully, there were a lot of people around and everybody was passing our water and trying to make sure that everyone around was OK,” she said. “I was able to get a hold of things after taking some moments after getting on my knees and trying to breathe and getting everything out of me.”
Perez described the tear gas as painful.
“When you are tear-gased, everything pours out of you. Out of your eyes, out of your nose, it is all just pouring out of you. It is very unpleasant. I don’t wish it on anyone. We’re OK now, my photographer. We have security with us today. We all got hit and we’re all OK at this point.”