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Multiple LAPD Officers Caught on Video Shoving and Knocking Down Roe v. Wade Protesters and Reporters

5:17 PM PDT on June 27, 2022

    Photo by Lexis-Olivier Ray for L.A. TACO.

    Hundreds of people gathered in Pershing Square on Friday to protest the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that paved the way for safe and legal abortions.

    Speakers from various community organizations spoke about how the overturning of Roe will impact mostly poor communities of color primarily. 

    “I want to set the stage with centering Black people because we know that Black people are going to be most impacted by this issue much like they're both impacted by every single other issue in this country,” Sheila from Black Lives Matter-LA said. “Abortion is health care, and health care is a human right.”

    At around 6:15 PM, roughly 1,000 protesters began marching towards Los Angeles City Hall. Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers mobilized immediately and briefly facilitated a path for protesters with their vehicles. A legal observer said in a tweet later that organizers of the protest discussed their plans with LAPD.

    At city hall, a few more speakers addressed the crowd before the protest came to a close at around 7 PM. Almost immediately though, another group splintered off from the protesters at city hall and began marching towards the 101 Freeway.

    When a group of a dozen or so protesters made a beeline for a freeway on ramp, police used vehicles to cut them off and quickly set up a skirmish line, preventing the crowd from advancing further. An L.A. TACO reporter saw a single soda can thrown in the direction of LAPD officers before they began using batons against protesters. Department of Homeland Security Police also responded since protesters were within the vicinity of the Federal Building on Los Angeles Street.

    At the same time, another group shutdown a section of the 101 Freeway during rush hour traffic. In a video captured by freelancer Mike Ade, LAPD officers toss Jodie Sweetin, an activist and former “Full House” star, into a group of protesters. Ade reported that Sweetin was attempting to lead the group off the freeway. 

    At around 7:45 PM, our staff reporter Lexis-Olivier Ray was violently shoved by an LAPD Metro Division officer while recording. Freelancer Joey Scott was similarly jabbed in the stomach with a baton, sending him flying into a stationary vehicle. Later Scott said that the impact was hard enough to crack his helmet. And throughout the night, the pushing and shoving continued. 

    Early attacks on journalists and protesters set the tone for the rest of the evening. In one video that has been watched more than 1.5 million times on Twitter, indie journalist Tina-Desiree Berg is hit in the head by a police officer before another officer, who towers over Berg, shoved her violently to ground while she holds a camera. “We’re trying to protect you,” the officer said afterwards. Five other cameras caught the attack.

    On behalf of the LA Press Club, journalist Adam Rose collected examples of police interactions with journalists; both good and bad. In total, Rose has identified at least 10 instances in which press freedom rights were allegedly violated. 

    Chief Moore told the LA Times that officers were overwhelmed at times by protesters throwing rocks, bottles and fireworks at them. And one protester who allegedly used an aerosol can to create a “flamethrower.” Lexis-Olivier Ray, our staff writer, documented two fireworks exploding less than five feet away from him. 

    As the evening went on, the amount of protesters on the streets diminished. At times, people who either lived in the neighborhood or were having a night out, got caught between police lines. 

    Lucas Charbonneau, an L.A. TACO supporting member, told us that he was at an Ethiopian jazz show downtown when a small group of protesters stormed the venue and “blended in with the crowd,” presumably to avoid detection and possible arrest. “I saw about 20 to 30 protesters rush in the door to the concert…which kind of put me on edge. But for the most part, no one even knew shit was going down right outside the doors.”

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