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(en) US, Cop Watch* LA Statement on May Day

Date Sun, 06 May 2007 11:43:17 +0300


On May 1, 2007 (May Day), Cop Watch Los Angeles participated in the march and rally organized by MIWON (Multi-Ethnic Immigrant Workers Organizing Network) in McArthur Park. Our role during the march was to observe and document police harassment and brutality, and to defend the people in the community as well, at the request of MIWON organizers. As the police began their attack on peaceful protestors, Cop Watch Los Angeles and other community members directed families to safety, acting as a buffer between police and the people.
At no point did Cop Watch LA provoke the mass beating and shooting of demonstrators that occurred on May 1st. There is no justification for the actions of the Los Angeles Police Department. In some cases, community members attempted to defend themselves as they were being brutalized, acting on their human instinct of self-preservation, by throwing water bottles or food; this level of defense is far removed from the injurious rubber bullets, beanbags and tear gas being fired indiscriminately into a park filled with thousands of people, including families, children and elders.

The attack commenced when the police disturbed a sacred indigenous
ceremony by plowing their motorcycles into the participants. Armed with
only angry words, Cop Watch LA members and the community took on a
defensive position during the assault and posed no offensive physical
threat to the police’s weapons and technology. Cop Watch LA does not
control the imagination and will of other young people who want to take
any sort of action against the police, or imitate our organization in an
undisciplined manner. Our role was to defend those people and stand with
them. Members from Cop Watch LA were heard saying, “We need to get
children out of here, the police are about to attack.” There is also
video footage of members putting their bodies on the line for the people
to get them out of harms way.

Many organizations and media outlets have begun to place blame on youth
and anarchists, asserting that throwing trash necessitates a full-scale
police assault on peaceful protestors and families. Video footage from
numerous angles and at several locations clearly discredits those
accusations – it is unmistakable that the police are at fault.

Contacts from the Mayor’s office have confirmed that the attack on
protestors and the community of Pico Union was pre-meditated due to the
desire to test out months of counter-terrorism training and last year’s
embarrassment, when the LAPD could not stop the people from taking the
streets.

The strategy by the LAPD, the media, and even some “progressive”
organizations has been to focus on Cop Watch LA as the direct cause of the
May 1st incident is an attempt to get the people on the side of the state
and to isolate CWLA from the communities we live in and organize in. This
is the same tactics that were used by COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence
Program) to destroy organizations like the Black Panther Party, American
Indian Movement, and other groups who focused on making fundamental change
in society. Today as we live under the Patriot Act, these tactics of the
police state continue to go after anybody who resists the status quo. We
hope that organizations and individuals don’t fall into the divide and
conquer methods of the state.

The scapegoating of anarchists today is reminiscent of 1886 Chicago
Haymarket Square Massacre in the first May Day ever celebrated, where
police instigated a massacre during a worker’s strike. The state blamed
the anarchist organizers and railroaded eight innocent people into prison
and hung four (while the other committed suicide).

We must also hold the organizers, organizations, and individuals who are
falling into this accountable. We have to stand on the side of the
people, not the police state.

The mayor Antonio Villaraigosa found himself in El Salvador, on a trip,
while this attacked happened right in the middle of the biggest
concentration of Central American people outside of Central America. Then
he has the nerve to guarantee Chief William Bratton a second term. They
are both responsible for implementing this type of policing and repression
that our communities are facing today.

This attack is not unprecedented! It has happened before and will happen
again – until we put a stop to it. In communities where populations are
predominantly working class or unemployed people of color, police abuse
and harassment is an everyday occurrence. For years, our communities have
struggled to overcome oppression at the hands of those sworn to “protect
and serve.” Still, death tolls and brutality cases continue to climb in
the neighborhoods of South Central, Compton, Watts, Pico Union, Maywood
and Boyle Heights.

Cop Watch’s main goal is to put an end to the injustices that plague our
streets and to oppressive institutions like the Los Angeles Police
Department.

We stand on the side of the people and always will.

Cop Watch Los Angeles

May 4, 2007

¡Ya Basta!
======================================
* An antiauthoritarian anticapitalist initiative
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