Cooley declines to file charges against LAPD officers in MacArthur Park melee

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AP Photo/Chad K. Uyeno, File

In this May 1, 2007 file photo, Los Angeles Police Metro Division officers advance on a crowd during an immigration rally in MacArthur Park.

Los Angeles County prosecutors Friday announced they will not file criminal charges against the officers who hit non-violent immigrant rights demonstrators in MacArthur Park two years ago.

The so-called May Day Melee angered many civil rights activists and Latinos, who saw it as an example of police abuse of minorities.

Elite LAPD cops in riot gear, responding to a handful of people who’d thrown bottles at police, swept through MacArthur Park firing rubber bullets and swinging batons at hundreds of peaceful demonstrators. Officers also hit journalists covering the event, including KPCC's Patricia Nazario.

In a statement, the office of District Attorney Steve Cooley, a former reserve LAPD officer, said that while the officers’ tactics may have been “questionable,” there was insufficient evidence to prove they’d broken any laws.

The statement called the incident “unfortunate and preventable.”

The decision arrives a day before Police Chief Bill Bratton leaves office. At the time of the incident, Bratton criticized officers for their actions, and he’s sought to fire four of them. He said police officers "go out of control faster than any human being in the world."

Earlier this year, the Los Angeles City Council agreed to pay $13 million to the more than 200 people injured that day.

Press release (View full screen to read documents):

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