The “both sides” narrative does not apply here.
If you’ve watched the news or read a headline over the past four days, you’ve likely heard some combination of these words to describe interactions between police and protesters: “face-off,” “confront,” and the always popular “clash.”
Corporate media loves these phrases because they obfuscate the gross power imbalance between protesters (who are, by definition, dissatisfied private citizens) and police (currently backed by DA Jackie Lacey, who has only filed criminal charges against officers twice since she took office in 2012).
The LAPD is the deadliest police force in the country, logging 39 cases of reported shootings and critical incidents last year alone.
It’s in the interest of those in power to describe this as a fair fight. Or, absurdly, paint the police as the underdogs. The last bastions of order, assaulted by crazed barbarians. The reality, however, is that the Black Lives Matter protest in Los Angeles on May 30th was peaceful until police officers incited violence.
Protesters were there because of the death of George Floyd and countless other black and brown people at the hands of police across the country. They had a clear message: defund the police and prosecute killer cops.
The police were there to protect property and terrorize Angelenos into silence. And they certainly tried.
The LAPD attacked organizers.
The LAPD attacked journalists.
The LAPD attacked crowds of people.
The police will say they tried to disperse the protest because they were scared for their lives. After all, a police car was burned in broad daylight.
A single roller that was 15–20 years old, with no working siren, parked in the middle of an intersection and vacated before protesters arrived.
This story should have been about the tens of thousands of people who gathered in Pan Pacific park to hear brilliant leaders from Black Lives Matter speak. This story should have been about the solidarity I saw all day among allies distributing free food and water to one another.
Instead, it’s about state violence against citizens. Because of course it is.
If you can, donate to the People’s City Council Freedom Fund. It’s aimed towards supporting direct actions like this and the people who participate in them. And please visit and support Black Lives Matter- Los Angeles.
This isn’t done yet.
Thanks to readers like you, Knock LA is able to keep you informed on local politics and uplift marginalized voices in Los Angeles. Join us in fighting the good fight and click here to support Knock LA.