LAPD Police Swarm Innocent Bystanders in Downtown Los Angeles
It was a fun day at E3 Expo 2010. On the last day of being media, June 17, 2010, I decided to take some photos of the LA Lakers finals fans and of the Nokia Center and the LA Convention Center as they were tearing down E3. Although everyone was just chilling and relaxing and peaceably gathered, the LAPD brought out their riot gear and swarmed us all. It took only an hour to go from a happy event to one of unnecessary violence by the police.
I barely escaped with my life. I remember that moment like it was crystallized in my mind. I had just photographed Activist and Journalist Kirsten Walker and her two sons who were playing quietly. We were chatting when the LAPD riot squad started pushing innocent men, women, and children (mostly minorities) into a tight group. We were surrounded. They head guns, clubs, tear gas, riot masks – we were frightened. Not a single person yelled or screamed or raised a fist – yet the police herded us like cattle. We were not asked to disperse. We were not accused of a crime. We were doing nothing to violate the law or disturb the people. Yet, at that very moment, we were not people, but animals to be herded, branded, beaten, arrested.
We were at an explosion point, or perhaps an implosion point. You could feel the tension in the air like a high voltage wire ready to snap. Despite my pleas that I was credentialed media, a seasoned journalist, waiting the Video Games Live Concert, the police treated me with neither dignity or respect. After going from officer to officer, I found someone in charge who ultimately released me through the crowd to make way to the E3 Expo at the LA Convention Center. I was shocked to see dozens of LAPD police cars lined up despite the fact there was nothing but the takedown crews and a few remaining video game industry people milling about.
How quickly can our everyday world turn into a police state? Just look at the recent events with the wrongful shooting of teenager Michael Brown and the ensuing riots and police brutality in Fergeson, Missouri. Things seemed to have changed little since the Civil Rights movement. But do not fight injustice with violence. Use the legal system and the media to make a stand. Whip out your mobile phone, your digital camera and videotape, photograph, tweet, pin, post, and blog. Together we can make a difference in the Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Gandhi, or Jesus way, not the path of violence. Use your voting power to remove those who abuse power and campaign if you feel you could do a better job. Educate yourself about your civil rights. And stop being racist against other people because we all need to work together to bring about a peaceful world. Peace Out.
Royalty Free YouTube Music used in this video: Royalty Free Music – Simplex – Memories (Dubstep). Read the license HERE. Video and photos copyright (c) 2010-2014 by Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP.
– Des Manttari, Editor-in-Chief, Phoenix Genesis
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