City attorney issues stats on Occupy LA arrests, trials

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The Los Angeles City Attorney Wednesday gave its latest accounting of the nearly 300 Occupy L.A. protestors arrested outside City Hall last month when the months-old encampment was shut down by police on Nov. 30.

A spokesman for City Attorney Carmen Trutanich said prosecutors have charged 51 Occupy L.A. protesters with crimes, mostly for failure to disperse. Frank Mateljan said one has already been convicted and sentenced to 18 months probation and 10 days of community service. The judge also ordered him stay away from City Hall during the term of his probation.

The City Attorney's Office says 51 criminal cases have been filed. Mateljan said about 180 protestors with no criminal history or aggravating factors in their arrest are eligible for a diversion program. They would be required to attend what amounts to traffic school for political protestors. Classes, he said, would focus on First Amendment rights and the law.

Mateljan said the LAPD has failed to provide police reports on 58 arrestees. The department did not return calls for comment.

Occupy L.A. lawyers have said police wrongfully arrested some people as they attempted to follow orders to disperse. More than a dozen people have filed complaints against the LAPD for false arrest or mistreatment.

One Occupy LA protester who returned to City Hall pleaded guilty to trespassing Monday. Bethania Palma was ordered to serve 20 days in jail or perform 10 days of work with the California Department of Transportation, the City Attorney's Office says.

She also must stay away from the park around City Hall. Authorities arrested six protesters Saturday night after they returned to the fenced-off area. Three other people have been charged and await pre-trial hearings.

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