Los Angeles police arrested 183 protesters overnight Tuesday -- a much larger number than in other major cities in the nation on the second night of protests over the grand jury decision in the
Police gave protesters an "absolute opportunity" to express themselves, he said, but within limits. Once the limits were reached, he said, police had to take action.
"It's very easy to demonstrate in the city of Los Angeles and not get arrested," he said.
He added: "It's important to us that we not become the subject of the discussion."
In total, L.A. police have arrested nearly 200 protesters since the Ferguson protests began.
A bulk of the arrests occurred Tuesday night. Of the 183 held, 167 were arrested for disturbing the peace, 15 juveniles for violating curfew, and one person was taken into custody for alleged felony battery after throwing a frozen water bottle at a police officer's head, Beck said.
"The police department of Los Angeles wants to facilitate genuine 1st Amendment activity," he said. "However, we will not condone or will not allow individuals to trample others' 1st Amendment rights."
After about nine hours of protesting through the streets of Los Angeles, demonstrators split into separate groups and some began "significant civil disobedience," Beck said. Demonstrators walked onto the 101 Freeway at Grand Avenue, blocked intersections and refused to disperse.
Most protesters were arrested near LAPD headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. Others were taken into custody at Flower and 9th Streets and Temple Street and Broadway. They booked into three separate detentions facilities, police said.
Wednesday morning, nine protesters were arrested after blocking the 101 Freeway at Alvarado Street, Beck said. On Monday, police arrested four protesters during hours-long demonstrations. With Tuesday's arrests, the total arrest count was 196.
Beck said police will continue to allow people to express themselves through protest but "cannot continue to expend resources chasing people around the city of Los Angeles to do that."
LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said the department planned to pursue charges against all the protesters arrested, including those arrested Wednesday morning.
In New York, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets on Tuesday night, and 10 of them were arrested.
The arrests occurred in Times Square, the Associated Press reported; four people were charged with resisting arrest and six with disorderly conduct. New York Police Commissioner
Here are the number of arrests in a few other hot spots around the country:
-- 44 arrests in Ferguson, Mo. In the city where the Michael Brown shooting occurred, protesters threw bricks through windows, set a police car on fire and shot weapons.
-- 7 arrests in Portland, Ore. Sgt. Pete Simpson said 200 to 300 broke off from a peaceful group of about 2,000, blocking highway and bridge traffic: "Vehicular, bicycle and transit traffic was all delayed at various points throughout the evening." A 37-year-old man was seated his car when he was punched in the face by a protester, who disappeared.
--21 arrests in Atlanta. Protesters broke windows and one officer was injured in the neck by a flare shot by demonstrators.
-- Oakland, Calif., police have not released the total number of arrests as of the writing of this post. An officer said "multiple people" had been arrested after looting and vandalism. Protesters lighted fires and set off fireworks at the CHP Oakland station.
Staff writer Amy Hubbard contributed to this report.