LAPD Overreacted to Beach Crowd, ACLU Says


The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California said Wednesday that Los Angeles police overreacted when they sent officers in riot gear to break up a hip-hop concert at Venice Beach last month.

ACLU officials said their attorneys will defend Asia Yu, the organizer of the Feb. 28 event, who has been charged with inciting a riot.

Police said concert-goers threw rocks and bottles at officers as they tried to control the crowd, which was estimated at more than 1,000. ACLU officials said the officers’ response was disproportionate to any disturbance.


ACLU representatives also said Yu held the appropriate permits for the dance performance and exhibition. At a news conference, they showed a videotape from the event, which they said supports their contention that the crowd was law-abiding and orderly.

“What happened on Venice Beach was a sweeping violation of free speech and basic civil liberties,” said Ramona Ripston, executive director of the local ACLU affiliate.

State Sen. Tom Hayden (D-Los Angeles), in a statement released Wednesday, said he reviewed the videotape and is “of the opinion that the LAPD overreacted.”

Police Chief Bernard C. Parks on Wednesday disputed assertions that the crowd was peaceful.

“When officers come to take action, they cannot be subjected to people throwing rocks and bottles,” he said.

Parks also said that he did not believe that Yu held the proper permits for the event.