Day Two Of Los Angeles Protests Focuses On All Police Killings
Published originally on Neon Tommy.
Black bodies matter.
Ezell Ford, Trayvon Martin, Omar Abrego, Mike Brown: Their bodies mattered.
All bodies matter.
That seemed to be the message behind day two of protests in Los Angeles. Following the Ferguson grand jury decision to not indict Officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, hundreds gathered in the streets of L.A.
The crowd, larger and more aggressive than that of Monday night’s, moved quickly through South L.A., gaining speed and strength the closer they got to downtown Los Angeles.
Their end destination? Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters.
But first, the group passed under the 110 Freeway. Protesters chanting “Hands up, Don’t shoot” were surrounded by dozens of police cars. The crowd surrounded two cop cars. One protester even jumped on the hood of one LAPD vehicle while officers were in it.
To try and distract the protesters, the officers turned on their sirens, the noise reverberating throughout the tunnel. Protesters were not dissuaded; instead, it urged them on. People began drawing on the cars with chalk, including a single word: Murder.
The march continued, with people stopping every few intersections to “shut it down” by sitting or laying in the street and remembering those who have been killed by the police.
As they walked, some protesters opened car doors and banged on car and restaurant windows. “Off the sidewalk and into the streets!” they chanted, urging people to join them.
At headquarters, the LAPD was ready. Officers waited outside, standing behind a barrier. The crowd swarmed, screaming at officers.
“Aren’t you supposed to protect and serve? Who are you serving? Yourself?” one protester yelled.
“What if it were your kid, officer?” asked another. “How would you feel then?”
While some pressed up against the barriers and threw debris, others took the opportunity to continue occupying the streets. Many stood and spoke, some urging people to continue the revolution by shutting down more freeways, others wanted to use the opportunity to discuss what steps the community could take next to fix the systemic issues.
Eventually, the crowd thinned. Suddenly, dozens of police cars—each containing at least three officers—drove by, blocking off streets, including Hill Street and Temple Street. Protesters ran, but were quickly blocked by a line of officers holding BB-guns. No one was allowed to pass.
One woman walked up to a female officer.
“I know this hurts you, I can see it in your face, it hurt, don’t it? We are out here, hands up, crying, begging for you to help us. I can see it hurts you,” the protester said.The officers slowly started using force to push people down the street. Another SWAT team was called in. The protesting crowd surrounded a cop car and started banging on it. One protester was thrown to the ground, his face shoved between the concrete and the wheel. He was arrested and led away. Another protester left the area with a fat lip.
As people slowly walked down the street, heading to meet up with others, go home, or continue the fight in other ways, the message “Peace on Earth” — written in Christmas lights on the front of a building — shined brightly down.