(East Hollywood, Calif.)— Student reporter Gigi Williams and 15 plus reporters, arrested in Los Angeles, California, while documenting the #EchoParkRising demonstrations at the Lake protesting actions against homeless encampments on March 25, 2021, a week before LACC concluded for spring break.
Williams moments before her arrest, “They are so close to me, so I’ll be next for cuffs at any moment.”
Reports of the crowds demonstrated against the city’s plan to clear a large homeless encampment, Los Angeles Police Department officers declared the gathering at the park’s Northern entrance as unlawful shortly after 8 p.m., the Post reported.
David Swanson for Reuters published by [PressFreedomTracker.us] wrote, “Before anyone could exit, according to The Post, a supervising officer announced that everyone was under arrest and officers surrounded the group using a police tactic called ‘kettling.'”
THIS IS WHAT COMMUNITY LOOKS LIKE. Many of us sang songs to pass the time as we waited for cops to arrest us one-by-one after kettling us into a crowd for nearly 2 hours. #EchoParkRiseUp pic.twitter.com/Hx7xn6stxO— Keliyah Williams (@williamskeliyah) March 27, 2021
LAPD issued a statement on Twitter reminding, “Members of the media are also to obey the dispersal orders. Members of the media are to use the designated media viewing area,” while the arrests took place. At around 1 a.m. on March 26, the LAPD posted another statement addressing the detainments of members of the press. (PFT)
“An unlawful assembly was declared by the Incident Commander after the unlawful activity of individuals threatened the safety of the officers and all those present,” the statement reads. According to the statement, police declared the gathering unlawful in part because protesters were shining strobe lights at police, which can “cause significant injury to the eyes.”
The LAPD statement notes that as individual arrests were made of those inside the kettle, police officers “learned that several credentialed and non-credentialed members of the media were part of the group. Members from the Department’s Media Relations Division were summoned to assist in identifying these individuals and they were released at scene without being arrested.”
The Press Freedom Tracker and several members of the L.A. Collegian reached out to the Los Angeles Police Department, which only accepts requests for comment via email, did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.