Throughout the afternoon today, people will hold protests in Los Angeles as part of a nationwide campaign called “Blow the Whistle.” The action is supposed to denounce what campaign organizers call police brutality and racial profiling.
Today’s campaign coincides with the Los Angles Police Department's response to three highly publicized rough arrests - including one that ended with a woman dying in the back of a patrol car. The police chief announced last week that captains at each station would hold community meetings to answer questions about the three use-of-force incidents and the department’s force policy. The LAPD hasn't yet announced when those meetings will happen.
At 3 p.m., protestors plan to demonstrate at the LAPD’s Venice substation. Last month, a cell phone video captured a few LAPD officers wrestling a skateboarder to the ground during an arrest in that area and punching the 20-year old man.
In New York, organizers will distribute more than 15,000 whistles, and will ask people to blow whistles at police officers conducting controversial stop-and-frisk checks.
“We will blow the whistle on what the criminal ‘injustice’ system does to people, and we will look out for each other and have each other's backs,” said the New York co-initiator Carl Dix on the campaign’s website.
Other protests in L.A. include a 3 p.m. march from the Pico Union at 6th Street and Alvarado to the LAPD Rampart station and an event in Anaheim where police shot and killed two men in a single weekend in July. The death of unarmed Manuel Diaz, 25, sparked days of civil unrest and protests with several arrests.
In Pasadena, the family of Kendrec McDade, an unarmed 19-year old shot and killed by Pasadena police, will join protests agansist tonight's Pasadena NAACP annual awards dinner, this year honoring the city attorney. The family of McDade is suing the police department and the city for wrongful death. The police department is investigating that shooting as well as a handful of citizen complaints against individual officers and use of force. The Pasadena police chief will emcee the NAACP event. NAACP of Pasdena president Joe Brown told the Pasadena Star News that the award has nothing to do with the McDade Case. But the protest organizer told the paper the timing of the event while litgation and investigation are underway are wrong.
The “Blow the Whistle” day of protest is supposed to converge at 5 p.m. with a demonstration at LAPD headquarters and end up at the monthly Art Walk event downtown.
Occupy members argue using chalk to draw on sidewalks is a form of speech and demonstration while police have maintained that it’s a form of vandalism, instead. Last month’s “chalking” event involving Occupy L.A. and supporters of the group went off without much of a hick-up. LAPD allowed people to use sidewalk chalk to draw on Pershing Square concrete without arresting them. Police say the rules will be similar for today’s Art Walk event. Members of Occupy L.A. say they plan to gather at Pershing Square and march to LAPD headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.