Black Lives Matter activists in Los Angeles, California are suing the city for how the police department reacted to peaceful demonstrations outside of Mayor Eric Garcetti's (D) residence in December 2020.
The activists were protesting the possibility of Mayor Garcetti being appointed to President Joe Biden’s Cabinet when, according to the Los Angeles Times, 50 people were “struck by batons or knocked down by LAPD officers.”
The lawsuit accused the officers of assault and battery and of violating protesters’ rights.
Greg Akili, 73, a BLM Los Angeles leader and lead plaintiff in the case, said in the lawsuit, “There were children there at the time, there were elderly people there at the time, and [the police] overreacted. Too often we have seen LAPD want to demonstrate their capacity to control a situation, and when they do that and it’s Black people involved, then they overdo it, they go too far, and we get hurt.”
The LAPD has not commented on the lawsuit. At the time of the protest LAPD spokesman Stacy Spell defended the officers’ actions, saying they converged on the protesters only after four officers attempted to arrest an individual with a bullhorn for allegedly violating a municipal code against producing sounds that carry more than 200 feet. Officers claimed they were being punched, pushed and kicked by other protesters trying to prevent the arrest.
The incident drew criticism from some elected leaders, who accused the officers of excessive force. The LAPD said it would review video of the incident.