Archive for the 'protests' Category

The L.A.P.D. on May Day – Trying to Change a Negative Image

By Producer Clare Robbins

Present at yesterday’s May Day demonstration was the bad after taste of the Los Angeles Police Department’s aggressive tactics the year prior in Mac Arthur Park. In conversation, many wondered if we would see a sequel to the dramatic melee that prompted a nearly year long investigation into the police department’s actions.

This year however, the mood was considerably different between police and protesters. Officers rolled around in golf-cart type vehicles with an electronic banner above saying “Welcome to the march. Bienvenidos a la marcha.” Periodically, an officer would encourage safety over a loud speaker, and officers were accessible and chatty with passers-by.

[Image Above: Roving police carts displayed electronic messages that said “Welcome to the March,” “Please move to the side of the street,” when protestors waited for the main marches to converge, and “Please follow Instructions.”]

Youth Radio reporter Araceli Romero spoke with Officer Galbraithe, who said that the overall police outlook for the day was optimistic. He said he was there to support participants right to exercise their first amendment right, and act on a moment’s notice to respond to any issues that could arise. When asked about his personal opinions on the day’s meaning, he responded that he “tries to keep it simple. I try not to get too complicated with things.”

Some wondered if this “Officer Friendly” approach by police officers curbed a feeling of spontaneity and dissent at the May Day demonstrations. While some protest organizers commended the L.A.P.D. for their approach, the marches seemed in some ways micro-managed by the police.

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