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Inspector General will review LAPD ArtWalk response

Eric Zassenhaus/KPCC

Los Angeles police officers and Occupy LA protesters clashed at July's ArtWalk, leading to 17 arrests and four injuries.

LAPD's oversight agency will review police response to protesters and general crowd control measures used during the July 12 ArtWalk in Downtown Los Angeles. That night ended in what's been widely (and neutrally) described as a "melee" - members of the crowd threw rocks and other items at police, and officers responded with rubber bullets.

The night reportedly went sour when police arrested people who drew with chalk on sidewalks near 5th and Spring Streets. Officers said the chalkers weren't only vandalizing sidewalks,  they were obstructing the sidewalks and forcing ArtWalk patrons into the streets.

At least some of the chalk artists showed up to protest a general police crackdown on sidewalk chalking. Before July 12, police had arrested eight people for chalking at the site of an ongoing anti-gentrification protest outside the offices of the Central City Association. There, police said, protesters were drawing on public and private property, and local business folk had called in to complain.


Art Walk drama-free, police stand by while Occupy LA hosts ChalkWalk

Omar Shamout / KPCC

A gentleman with a striking resemblance to John Lennon stands next to a chalked-up wall in Pershing Square.

Omar Shamout / KPCC

A man models Chalk Knuckles at Pershing Square during Chalk Walk.

Erika Aguilar / KPCC

ChalkWalk was chill Thursday night. And ArtWalk was its usual boisterous, artsy, inebriated self.

As of about 11pm, at least, ArtWalk was a drama-free event Thursday evening, despite predictions of clashes between police and visiting Occupy Oakland activists. The crowd was also smaller than usual for an August night.

At July's event, members of Occupy L.A., protesting an LAPD crackdown on chalking, migrated into ArtWalk, spurring a melee that involved 17 arrests, bottles being thrown at police, and the LAPD's use of rubber bullets and other less lethal crowd control weapons.

August's event was a sharp contrast.

At an event last week, ChalkWalk organizer Richard Florence told Downtown community members that future events would steer clear of ArtWalk, to the best of their ability. Thursday's ChalkWalk was planned for Pershing Square, and largely stayed there.

Police stood by Thursday morning, as Oakland's Fresh Juice Party chalked a large mural in the northeast corner of Pershing Square. When security guards called police, they detained three people who were drawing and released two. A third, Dexter Williams of Oakland, was arrested on outstanding misdemeanor vandalism warrants and remained in custody as of press time. Later in the day, an Occupy L.A. member, Deandre Washington, allegedly punched a member of Occupy Oakland in the face and was arrested.


Police make arrests hours before start of ArtWalk/ChalkWalk [Updated]

Rina Palta / KPCC

Occupiers from Oakland drew a chalk mural Thursday morning, which remains on the Northeast corner of Pershing Square.

Police have already made several arrests even as attention focuses on Pershing Square and the rumored busload of Occupy Oakland members who have arrived in town for ChalkWalk, which will take place during Thursday night's Downtown ArtWalk despite warnings from LA police.

Arrests were made Thursday in Pershing Square, though none have to do with chalk.

A group of three Occupiers from Oakland was detained after police were called to the area because security reported chalking.

Two were released and one was arrested on an outstanding warrant.

Later in the day, another Occupier was arrested, this time from the L.A. contingent. The L.A. man allegedly punched an Occupy member from Oakland in the face during an argument. The L.A. man was arrested and taken into custody.

It's not clear what the argument was about, but there appeared to be friction between the two groups all day.