California panel recommends limits to police responses to demonstrations; ‘militaristic’ tactics cited


SACRAMENTO — Days after police and members of an unruly crowd were injured following the Los Angeles Lakers’ latest basketball championship, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday released a report urging better communication and restraint by officers and warning that the use of tactical weapons for crowd control can escalate the sort of violence they are intended to deter.

Newsom sought the more than three-dozen recommendations after months of nationwide demonstrations followed the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police. But California’s largest police unions called them unrealistic, and a legislator from the governor’s own Democratic Party criticized several of his recent police reform vetoes.

He in turn ordered California’s police training panel to update its standards to prioritize protecting free speech rights and focus on selectively identifying and detaining instigators and hate groups who officials say can turn an otherwise peaceful crowd violent.

Local agencies should require their officers to activate their body cameras during protests, Newsom’s advisors said. They should protect journalists and legal observers, several of whom were injured by police in recent demonstrations.

And they urged police to minimize a “militaristic presence” of armored vehicles or military-style helmets or weapons that “can be counterproductive … and may incite or escalate conflict.”

Rubber bullets and chemical irritants can not only injure and kill, they said, but can “rapidly escalate conflict, and … should be used as a last resort to protect life and repel assaults when other means have been exhausted.”

Brian Marvel, president of the rank-and-file Peace Officers Research Association of California, called the recommendations “a step in the right direction.” But police unions in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose said the report and Newsom’s announcement fail to address keeping officers safe and paying for the new training.

The report “pretends that violence and looting are brought on by police presence,” the unions said in a joint statement. ”We would welcome the authors of this research report to come stand the line with us during the next riot and show us how respecting ‘spatial boundaries’ and reducing the use of less than lethal crowd control devices will quell the looting, violence and injuries to officers we experienced during many of the so called peaceful protests.”

Newsom released the report days after eight police officers were treated for injuries and three demonstrators were taken to hospitals after they were hit by so-called less-lethal munitions. Los Angeles police said about 1,000 Lakers fans initially celebrated peacefully until “unruly individuals” began throwing glass, bottles, rocks and other projectiles at officers and damaged more than 30 buildings.

He said the recommendations will “reinforce the values of community partnership, de-escalation, and restraint.”

While most departments have behaved professionally during months of civil unrest, “there also have been disturbing and well-documented instances of unnecessary and counterproductive aggression, instigation, and over-reaction,” wrote former East Palo Alto police chief Ron Davis and Bay Area Rapid Transit president Lateefah Simon. They worked with Goldman School of Public Policy and Administration professor Jack Glaser on the report.

Their report is dated Sept. 28, two days before Newsom vetoed a bill that his advisors seem to support.

“Time and again, we heard stakeholders express a strong interest in shifting some funding away from traditional law enforcement responses to investments in communities and other types of first responders such as mental health providers and trained conflict resolution experts,” they wrote, saying they “wholeheartedly agree.”

Newsom last month said he supported the concept even as he vetoed a bipartisan bill intended to do just that, saying he disagreed with how the proposed grant program would have been administered.

“It’s unfortunate that when California had an opportunity to lead, we decided to step back,” said Democratic Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager. “Everyone seems to be in agreement, so I look forward to him signing the bill next year.”

She said the recommendations often appear to be “a regurgitation of many of the bills that went through the legislative process last year,” including measures limiting the use of rubber bullets, protecting journalists and discouraging the use of militaristic weaponry, some of which failed to advance or were vetoed.

Dennis Cuevas-Romero, legislative advocate at the ACLU Center for Advocacy and Policy, was similarly critical of lost reform opportunities, adding that “police should not need costly additional training to understand that the First Amendment protects protesters and journalists from the widespread abuses we’ve seen.”

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Protester struck by SUV at Breonna Taylor demonstration In Hollywood

A protester in Hollywood was struck Thursday night by an SUV speeding by a crowd of marchers on the second night of protests related to the killing of Breonna Taylor by Louisville Metropolitan Police Department officers.

Shortly before 9 p.m., a black SUV sped by the crowd, striking a protester before speeding away again. The Los Angeles Fire Department responded and took one person to a hospital, according to the LAFD’s Nicholas Prange.

The protest began at 7 p.m. and by 7:30 p.m., at least 200 people were sitting and standing in the grass outside the entrance to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, located at 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., in Hollywood.

Vehicles could be heard driving by the protest honking in support, and a series of speakers addressed the crowd.

Demonstrators chanted “Black lives they matter here” and vehicles could be heard driving by the protest honking in support, as a series of speakers addressed the crowd.

After the rally, demonstrators marched through Hollywood accompanied by multiple vehicles, some with signs that said “Defund. Abolish.” and “Defund police, invest in community.”

The first night of protests began around 6 p.m. Wednesday near Union Station with a march along downtown streets before returning to Union Station around 11 p.m.

Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical worker, was fatally shot in her apartment early on March 13 by officers executing a search warrant, according to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.

Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detectives Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove were advised by superiors to knock and announce their presence in serving this specific search warrant, Cameron said.

Evidence from the Special Prosecution Unit’s investigation shows that officers both knocked and announced their presence at the apartment. The officers’ statements about their announcement are corroborated by an independent witness who was near in proximity to Taylor’s apartment, Cameron said.

When officers were unable to get anyone to answer or open the door to the apartment, the decision was made to breach the door. After breaching the door, Mattingly was the first, and only officer, to enter the residence, Cameron said.

Mattingly identified two individuals standing beside one another at the end of the hall, a male and female. In his statement, Mattingly said the male was holding a gun, arms extended, in a shooting stance, Cameron said.

Mattingly saw the man’s gun fire, heard a “boom,” and immediately knew he was shot as a result of feeling heat in his upper thigh, Cameron said.

Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, fired the shot that hit Mattingly, Cameron said.

Walker admitted firing one shot and was the first to shoot, Cameron said.

Mattingly returned fire down the hallway, firing six shots. Almost simultaneously, Cosgrove, also in the doorway area, shot 16 times, all in a matter of seconds, Cameron said.

Hankison fired his weapon 10 times, including from outside a sliding glass door and through a bedroom window, Cameron said.

Some bullets traveled through apartment four and into apartment three, before some exited that apartment. At the time, three residents of apartment three were at home, including a man, a pregnant woman and a child, Cameron said.

The investigation found that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their use of force, after having been fired upon by Walker, Cameron said.

Kentucky State Police and FBI ballistics analysis reached different conclusions, creating a reasonable doubt in the evidence about who fired the fatal shot.

Hankison was indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury on three counts of wanton endangerment, a Class D felony. Mattingly and Cosgrove were not charged.

Hankison was fired by the LMPD on June 23, 2020

The warrant used to search Taylor’s apartment was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside.

“Breonna Taylor was sleeping when police raided her apartment and killed her,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, tweeted Thursday. “She deserves justice.

“Breonna — and all Black Americans — deserve a system of policing that prioritizes justice and dignity over fear and bigotry, so a tragedy like this never happens again.”

Taylor’s family received a $12 million settlement payment from Louisville.

“I am completely mortified that our criminal justice system has failed Breonna Taylor, her family and friends, and frankly, it has failed our country,” said Black Lives Matter founder and Executive Director Patrisse Cullors, who is based in Los Angeles.

“We are going to continue the work that we have started in the name of Breonna Taylor and countless Black lives cut short at the hands of police brutality, systemic racism and white supremacy.

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George Floyd protest held as President Trump is celebrated in separate O.C. events

About 100 protesters gathered in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign in Huntington Beach on Sunday, June 14 — also the day dozens of bicyclists rode from that city to Newport Beach to celebrate President Donald Trump’s birthday.

Both events were peaceful, and neither resulted in any reports of altercations or arrests, Newport Beach police officials said. The two groups did not gather at the same time.

  • Laurence Geronilla, 19, of Panorama City, takes part in a protest against racism and police violence at Huntington Beach Pier Sunday, June 14 (Eric Licas, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Demonstrtors gather in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign at Huntington Beach Pier Sunday, June 14. (Eric Licas, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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  • Michelle Hattersley, 18, of Huntington Beach, collects hand written letters addressed to Huntington Beach City Hall from demonstrators gathered in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign at Huntington Beach Pier Sunday, June 14. She said she believes counterprotesters opposed to the BLM movement present at earlier events “fly in the face” of the core values of her hometown. (Eric Licas, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A Huntington Beach Police sergeant asks a man to walk with him and talk after he shouted “all lives matter” at a group of about 100 protesters gathered in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter campaign at Huntington Beach Pier Sunday, June 14. (Eric Licas, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Timothy Harvey, 31, of Aliso Viejo, joins a group of roughly 100 people demonstrating against racism and police violence at Huntington Beach Pier Sunday, June 14. (Eric Licas, Orange County Register/SCNG)



Demonstrators outraged by incidents of excessive force by police and the in-custody deaths of unarmed black people nationwide started gathering at  Huntington Beach Pier at about 2 p.m. What began as a small crowd swelled to include about 100 people by 4 p.m.

The event was dwarfed by a protest held in Los Angeles County that had attracted thousands of people. It was also smaller than similar demonstrations held at Huntington Beach Pier over the past few weeks. However, some traveled more than an hour to take part in the protest.

“I feel like there’s enough people in LA now,” Panorama City resident Laurence Geronilla, 19, said. “My presence might make more of a difference here.”

Chris Pyon, 29, of Anaheim, holds a sign wishing a happy birthday to Bryce James, son of LeBron James. “I think we all know it’s someone else’s birthday too. But I think the James family has done more to uplift people than the current administration.” @ocregister

— Eric Anthony Licas (@EricLicas) June 14, 2020

Earlier gatherings at the pier had been accompanied by pro-law enforcement counter protests. However, those expressing support for the Black Lives Matter campaign did not encounter significant opposition on Sunday.

“There is nothing to counter-protest. There is nothing for them to be out here for,” Aliso Viejo resident Timothy Harvey, 31, said. “Because what we are protesting, is there are still people in this world that believe black lives don’t matter at all, and that’s not OK.”

Earlier, several dozen riders celebrating Flag Day and the president’s birthday assembled at Huntington Beach Pier at about 11:30 a.m., Newport Beach Lt. Eric Little said. American flags and banners bearing the words “Trump  2020” were hoisted onto poles attached to bicycles, and fluttered behind participants as they rode to Balboa Pier. Photos taken along the way at Newport Pier showed at least 40 people who had been a part of the gathering.

Happy Birthday President Trump from Trump birthday bike riders 🇺🇸🇺🇸🙏🙏@realDonaldTrump @Geoclewis @CaliConserv1 @kimberleyUSA11

— formal protest guy (@ProtestGuy) June 14, 2020

A peace and unity rally in Laguna Beach also took place Sunday. About 25 people joined the gathering, which was described as “completely peaceful,” by Laguna Beach Police Sgt. Jim Cota.


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California legislative leaders back state ‘sleeper hold’ ban


SACRAMENTO — California’s Assembly speaker and other key lawmakers on Monday backed making it illegal statewide for police to use a type of neck hold that blocks the flow of blood to the brain, a proposal that appears to go beyond any other state.

Major law enforcement groups did not immediately say if they would oppose the move, which comes after a different restraint used by Minneapolis police was blamed for the death of George Floyd, triggering ongoing nationwide protests.

However, the Los Angeles Police Department announced an immediate moratorium on the training and use of the hold until the civilian Board of Police Commissioners can review the issue. Police departments in suburban Pasadena and El Monte and in Santa Ana in Orange County also have suspended use of the technique.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon endorsed legislation that fellow Democratic Assemblyman Mike Gipson said he will amend to make it illegal to use chokeholds and a carotid artery restraint tactic to forcibly detain a suspect.

“We … have to change a culture of excessive force that seems to exist among some members of law enforcement,” Rendon said at a news conference. “This bill will end one brutal method that police use for restraining people.”

The method, also known as a sleeper hold, involves applying pressure to the sides of the neck with an arm. It can almost immediately block blood flow in the carotid arteries and render someone unconscious, but can cause serious injury or death if the blood flow is restricted too long.

“These methods and techniques are supposed to save lives, but they don’t — they take lives,” said Gipson.

Colorado and Illinois allow use of the hold only if police deem lethal force to be justified, said Amber Widgery, a criminal justice analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, while Tennessee allows its use if other means of restraint have been ineffective. Washington, D.C., bans a similar trachea hold but permits the carotid hold under circumstances where lethal force is allowed.

Other states use more general legal language, she said, and it’s not clear if California’s proposal will allow any exceptions because Gipson did not release the actual language of his bill.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday said he would sign Gipson’s bill if it is approved by lawmakers, and ordered the state’s police training program to stop teaching officers how to use the neck hold.

Congressional Democrats on Monday also introduced legislation aimed at reforming police practices, including by banning certain policing tactics including chokeholds.

Although the Legislature is controlled by Democrats, Sen. Scott Wiener said law enforcement reforms “are incredibly hard to move forward.” He also mentioned proposed legislation that would restrict when police can use rubber bullets.

The sleeper hold ban was backed Monday by Black, Latino, Asian-Pacific Islander, Jewish and LGBTQ legislative caucuses. Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins said in a statement that “it is now time to have a conversation to ban chokeholds and carotid artery restraints on a statewide level.”

The proposal is also supported by the California Medical Association because the holds “can be misapplied and botched easily,” said incoming President Dr. Lee Snook.

One problem is the holds can fatally aggravate underlying health issues, Snook said, something police can’t know about on the spur of the moment.

“It is a difficult procedure to do…but it is effective when applied effectively,” said Brian Marvel, president of the rank-and-file Peace Officers Research Association of California, which represents more than 77,000 individuals and 930 associations.

His association is likely to defer to organizations representing police chiefs and sheriffs that determine what methods officers and deputies are allowed to use.

The sheriffs’ association has not taken a position in part because it hasn’t seen the details, said spokesman Cory Salzillo. The chiefs’ association did not take a stance but said “painful examples” of use of force prompted chiefs across the state to in recent years “to develop strict guidelines on certain techniques, including the carotid restraint.”

Officers would still have a variety of tools to control suspects if the hold is banned, Marvel said, ranging from voice commands to night sticks, Tasers, pepper spray and firearms. Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, a bill co-author, said 23 California law enforcement agencies have already limited its use, several in the last week.

On Friday, San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia said his department still allows the carotid hold as a last option before lethal force. On Monday he said in a statement that his department already bans chokeholds — which he said are distinct from carotid holds. Chokeholds apply pressure from the front and stop the individual from breathing, while carotid holds are from the side.

Garcia said the department is updating the department’s polices including by making it clear that chokeholds can’t be applied using pressure with any body part including the knee. Floyd died after prolonged pressure on his neck from an officer’s knee.

Marvel urged California lawmakers to make it clear that police still can “do what they need to do to save themselves.” He said lawmakers should consider allowing its continued use in certain circumstances, for instance where police or air marshals have limited options to control a suspect aboard an airplane.

Gipson, a former police officer, was among lawmakers who said they hope other states will follow California’s lead in banning the hold.

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ACLU sues Los Angeles, LA County and San Bernardino to stop curfews

LOS ANGELES — Calling the curfews imposed throughout Southern California “draconian,” the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles and individual journalists, protesters and others against Los Angeles, Los Angeles County and the city of San Bernardino.

The ACLU claims in the lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles that the curfews are a violation of the First Amendment because they suppress all political protest in the evening hours and restricting movement outside of working hours is a violation of the Constitution’s protection of freedom of movement.

“The city and county of Los Angeles are attempting to use these curfews to suppress Black Lives Matter-L.A.’s right to protest,” Melina Abdullah, a co-founder of BLM-L.A., said.

“They are attempting to suppress our ability to fully mobilize and focus full attention on the true issue of concern in the protests — police violence against black people.”

Enforcement of an L.A. curfew was seen Wednesday night in Grand Park, across the street from Los Angeles City Hall in downtown Los Angeles.

About 11:20 p.m., @LASDHQ deputies began arresting members of the group, several at a time, and walked them over into the theee Sheriff’s Department busses parked in front of City Hall.

— Jonah Valdez (@Jonahmv) June 4, 2020

A small group of about 120 people had remained after a crowd of about 4,000 protesters gradually thinned out after the city’s 9 p.m. curfew had gone into effect.

The small group staged a sit-in at the park in protest of the curfew, arguing that they were only there to exercise their First Amendment rights and should not be subject to arrest.

By about 11:20 p.m., Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies closed in on the sitting group at Grand Park, which is owned by the county.

The group chanted, “Peaceful protest” with hands raised, as the deputies arrested the group, several at a time.

The ACLU lawsuit claims the curfews also prohibit journalists from being able to fully report their stories from the scenes of the protests.

“These unconstitutional curfews have suppressed a huge amount of important political protest activity and disrupted the lives of over 10 million people,” Ahilan Arulanantham, senior counsel of the ACLU SoCal, said. “The curfews must end now.”

LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has said curfews in the county will remain in effect until the protests end.


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Protests, some violent, spread nationally in wake of George Floyd death

By SUDHIN THANAWALA The Associated Press

ATLANTA >> Demonstrators marched, stopped traffic and in some cases lashed out violently at police as protests erupted Friday in dozens of U.S. cities following the killing of George Floyd after a white officer pressed a knee into his neck while taking him into custody in Minnesota. In Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and beyond, thousands of protesters carried signs that said: “He said I can’t breathe. Justice for George.” They chanted “”No justice, no peace” and “Say his name. George Floyd.”

After hours of peaceful protest in downtown Atlanta, some demonstrators suddenly turned violent, smashing police cars, setting one on fire, spray-painting the iconic logo sign at CNN headquarters, and breaking into a restaurant. The crowd pelted officers with bottles, chanting “Quit your jobs.”

At least three officers were hurt and there were multiple arrests, Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos said. Campos said protesters shot BB guns at officers and threw bricks, bottles and knives at them. People watched the scene from rooftops, some laughing as skirmishes broke out.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms passionately addressed the protesters at a news conference: “This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.”

“You are disgracing our city,” she told protesters. “You are disgracing the life of George Floyd and every other person who has been killed in this country. We are better than this. We are better than this as a city. We are better than this as a country. Go home, go home.”

Bottoms was flanked by rappers T.I. and Killer Mike, as well as King’s daughter, Bernice King.

Killer Mike cried as he spoke.

“We have to be better than this moment. We have to be better than burning down our own homes. Because if we lose Atlanta what have we got?” he said.

After Mayor Bottoms appealed for calm, the violence continued. More cars were set on fire, a Starbucks was smashed up, the windows of the College Football Hall of Fame were broken, and the iconic Omni Hotel was vandalized.

Protesters gathered outside the White House, with President Donald Trump inside, and some tried to push through barriers set up by the U.S. Secret Service along Pennsylvania Avenue.

In Minneapolis, a curfew did little to stop protesters and others from gathering in several areas of the city, including the battered Lake Street neighborhood where a police precinct was burned the night before. There were scattered small fires and some stores in a strip mall were being broken into near the city’s 5th Precinct.

An initially peaceful demonstration in New York City spiraled into chaos as night fell, as protesters skirmished with officers, destroyed police vehicles and set fires.

In Brooklyn, activists who had marched from Manhattan chanted insults at officers lined up outside the Barclays Center and pelted them with water bottles. Police sprayed an eye-irritating chemical into the largely diverse crowd multiple times, then cleared the plaza.

Video posted to social media showed officers using batons and shoving protesters down as they took people into custody and cleared streets.

Demonstrators rocked a police van, set it ablaze, then scrawled graffiti across its charred hulk and set it on fire a second time as officers retreated from the area. Blocks away, protesters used a club to batter another police vehicle.

Numerous people were arrested and police brought in buses to carry off those they arrested.

“We have a long night ahead of us in Brooklyn,” Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted. “Our sole focus is deescalating this situation and getting people home safe. There will be a full review of what happened tonight. We don’t ever want to see another night like this.”

The police department said numerous officers were injured, including one who had a tooth knocked out.

The names of black people killed by police, including Floyd and Eric Garner, who died on Staten Island in 2014, were on signs carried by those in the crowd, and in their chants.

“It’s my duty to be out here,” said Brianna Petrisko, among those at Foley Square in lower Manhattan, where most were wearing masks amid the coronavirus pandemic. “Our country has a sickness. We have to be out here. This is the only way we’re going to be heard.”

In Houston, where George Floyd grew up, several thousand people rallied in front of City Hall. Among them was 19-year-old Jimmy Ohaz, who came from the nearby city of Richmond, Texas.

“My question is how many more, how many more? I just want to live in a future where we all live in harmony and we’re not oppressed.”

Tensions rose in several West Coast cities as night fell.

About 1,000 protesters gathered in Oakland at a demonstration billed on social media as a rally to “F(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk) the police,” and some windows were smashed.

Demonstrators shut down a freeway in Los Angeles amid isolated scuffles with police that ended in a few protesters detained and one officer receiving medical treatment, police said. An LAPD vehicle had its windows smashed, and CNN reported that someone wrote “killer” on a patrol car.

Protesters repeatedly clashed with police in the Silicon Valley city of San Jose, said Mayor Sam Liccardo, and police responded with flash-bang grenades and rubber bullets. One officer was being treated at a hospital for an injury that was not life-threatening, he and police officials said.

Liccardo said his own officers shared the community’s outrage over Floyd’s in-custody death.

“It was a horrible injustice. I’d venture to guess that every police officer out there feels much of the same anger about what happened in Minneapolis,” he told The Associated Press.

Thirty miles to the west, Santa Cruz police chief Andrew G. Mills said in a statement that the actions by Minneapolis officers in Floyd’s death “are the antithesis of what we view as good policing.”

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Police make arrests in Fontana during protest over George Floyd’s death

A protest Thursday night in Fontana over the death of George Floyd resulted in several vandalism-related arrests, according to the police department.

Floyd, a 46-year-old man from Minnesota, died on Monday after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck. Floyd’s death has sparked protests against police violence throughout the country.

Protesters gathered on Sierra Avenue, between Arrow Boulevard and Ceres Avenue at around 6 p.m., according to reports from social media. The protesters carried signs that said “Black Lives Matter” and signs with Floyd’s name.

A group of ppl gathered near #Fontana City Hall to protest the death of #GeorgeFloyd and support #BlackLivesMatter near Sierra Ave (a main street in the city).

— Natalya Estrada (@Nat_Estrada44) May 29, 2020

Social media reports indicated that Fontana police attempted to break up the gathering of protestors, and eventually crowd control measures were used to make the crowds disperse.

Fontana police said several vandalism arrests were made, but there were no injuries to either protestors or police.

The @FontanaPD is trying to disperse the crowd

— AlexVnews (@alexvnews) May 29, 2020

The protest was over as of 11 p.m., police said.

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