MALDEF Denounces LAPD Officers' Use of Force During May 1st Peaceful Marches at MacArthur Park

Calls on LAPD Chief William Bratton and California Attorney General Jerry Brown to conduct extensive investigations

May04, 2007

LOS ANGELES, CA - The widespread outrage at the LAPD’s use of force during the peaceful gatherings at MacArthur Park on May 1, 2007, must be addressed by full and independent local, state and federal investigations. Today, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) released letters sent to LAPD Chief Bratton and California Attorney General Brown calling upon both to promptly and thoroughly investigate the use of force against members of the community and the media.

“A state investigation will have the independence critical to be meaningful and to hopefully heal the damage caused by Tuesday’s action,” stated Annabelle G. Gonzalves, MALDEF Los Angeles Regional Counsel.

“Ensuring that local law enforcement agencies do not violate the constitutional and civil rights of Latinos is one of MALDEF’s core missions. Here, it is particularly important that Latinos’ voices are not silenced in the critical national policy debate surrounding comprehensive immigration reform,” she added.

“While there are many details that remain unclear, it appears unquestioned that the marchers who gathered for a peaceful call for comprehensive immigration reform did not initiate any violence. This is equally true of members of the press and electronic media. The immediate LAPD response, which included pepper spray, rubber bullets, and the extensive use of batons, appears to be excessive and completely uncalled for. As the details unfold, it is important to be in constant communication with community groups to ensure that all persons, including undocumented immigrants, have confidence in the police department, promote public safety and trust, and to encourage the participation and involvement of the entire community in achieving law enforcement’s goals of protecting and serving the people,” Gonzalves added.

For all media inquiries, please contact Laura Rodriguez.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund