LAPD Chief Claims 'Elements of the Crowd' Threw Projectiles at Police in Riot Gear, News Reports Say the Rally Had Been Peaceful
National Coordinators Call for Independent Investigation, Further Information from Those at MacArthur Park Rally...
By Brad Friedman on 5/1/2007, 11:55pm PT  

Officers in riot gear from the Los Angeles Police Department fired rubber bullets and used tear gas to disperse a "crowd of hundreds" gathered at a local park for a previously peaceful May Day immigration rally tonight.

National rally coordinators are protesting the action and have sent us a statement via email asking citizens to call on LAPD Chief William Bratton and LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to demand an independent investigation into the "May Day incident at MacArthur Park." They are also seeking information from anyone in the crowd at MacArthur Park in Los Angeles during the incident. The statement, sent from Lee Sui Hin, National Coordinator from the National Immigrant Solidarity Network/Action LA Coalition, is posted in full at the end of this article.

NBC 4 is reporting that Bratton is claiming "15 officers were hit by missiles that were thrown at them by 'certain elements of the crowd ... who we don't believe were representative' of most of those who were there...While he spoke, a person could be heard declaring, 'That's not true.'"

He's promised an investigation, though the rally coordinators are demanding tonight that an independent commission be appointed to look into the matter.

Fox 11 has a very good first-hand video report, featuring their local reporter who had been covering the rally and said she heard no notice to disperse, as claimed by the police. Her crew was roughed up, as seen in the video.

AFP reports that some 200,000 rallied nationwide today. Here's what UPI is reporting tonight on the LA incident:

L.A. police move on immigration rally

LOS ANGELES, May 1 (UPI) --- A day of peaceful immigration rallies in major U.S. cities Tuesday was marred when Los Angeles police fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

Witnesses said police wearing riot gear and wielding batons gave no warning before firing at rally participants gathered at MacArthur Park, CNN reported. Police said a protester knocked down a motorcycle officer, the news channel said.

There were no reports of serious injuries and no arrests were made.

LA Times is reporting, in contradiction to UPI that:

Several people, including 15 police officers, were hurt. About 10 people were taken by ambulance to hospitals for treatment, said d'Lisa Davies, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles city Fire Department.
Late Tuesday, a staff member from Telemundo's newsroom confirmed that one reporter and three camera operators from the Spanish-language TV station had been injured and had been taken to a hospital by police.

Another TV station, Fox 11, showed video on its 10 p.m. newscast of a station camerawoman apparently being struck by a baton-wielding police officer in riot gear.

UPDATE: 5/2/07: Extraordinary new video now available here...

The complete statement from the National Immigrant Solidarity Network follows below...

National Immigrant Solidarity Network, ActionLA Coalition
Statement on LAPD Brutally Attacks May Day Immigrant Marchers at MacArthur Park

May 1, 2007 10:00 PM PST

National Immigrant Solidarity Network and Action LA is outraged to learn that at about 6:30 PM, May 1, the LAPD fired rubber bullets and tear gas into crowds of hundreds of people at the May Day rally in MacArthur Park. This was after the police had declared an unlawful assembly. Most of the people present did not hear or know about the police declaration..

The LAPD failed to act professionally and demonstrate restraint when it used excess force against a peaceful rally of families which included mothers, babies and young children. The LAPD lacked recognition of the consequences of it's actions.

Shame on the LAPD for failing to careful think before using brutal force to attack peaceful marchers.

We are calling community members, civil leaders to Immediately call LAPD chief William Bratton, and LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa office, to demand the following:

1) An immediate independent police investigation of the May Day incident at MacArthur Park, and demand officers who violated the police guidelines be punished.

2) The immediate and full disclosure from LAPD of any people arrested and detained, we further demand that the LAPD not act as immigrant agents to enforce Federal immigrant law. Due-process of any detainees must be respected.

We encourage anyone if you have information about the May Day MacArthur Park incident, please contact us: (213) 403-0131 or e-mail:

We'll issue another detail statement soon and your support is highly appreciated.

Lee Siu Hin
National Coordinator
National Immigrant Solidarity Network
ActionLA Coalition

LAPD Hotline:
Toll Free (1-877-275-5273)
Spanish Line (Español)

LA Mayor's Office:

National Immigrant Solidarity Network
No Immigrant Bashing! Support Immigrant Rights!

New York: (212) 330-8172
Los Angeles: (213) 403-0131
Washington D.C.: (202) 595-8990

UPDATE 2/5/09: L.A. agrees to $13 million settlement with victims of the 2007 "May Day Melee". Details...