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Newsletter: LAPD’s weapons, protesters’ injuries

People are arrested on suspicion of violating curfew in Hollywood on June 1.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

The LAPD’s use of batons and other weapons injured protesters and probably violated its own rules.

TOP STORIES

LAPD’s Weapons, Protesters’ Injuries

During the protests in Los Angeles over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, L.A. Police Department officers appear to have violated their department’s own policies for how weapons like batons and “less lethal” munitions may be used, according to a Times review.

The review of dozens of instances of police force during the protests found that demonstrators suffered a range of injuries at the hands of the LAPD, from minor bruising from baton strikes and falls as police skirmish lines advanced, to serious injuries to their genitals and heads from foam and sponge bullets and beanbags being launched into crowds, sometimes from close range.

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Many of the protesters’ wounds are from incidents in which police appeared to have violated their own policies for how weapons may be used, after they had declared large gatherings unlawful and subject to dispersal, the review found. Others, including some of the most serious injuries to men’s genitals, appeared to be the result of sanctioned uses — such as officers aiming projectiles directly at a man’s belt line.

Witnesses to the events say the police were at times responding to water bottles and other debris being thrown at them and fires and other vandalism occurring around them. But other times, the police appeared to be lashing out at peaceful protesters simply for being on the street.

“We are protesting police brutality,” said one demonstrator, “and then being brutalized by police while we’re protesting.”

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Disband the Police? They Already Did

Seven years ago, officials disbanded the police department in Camden, N.J., and started over with a new force run by the county.

It was a transformation sparked by corruption and soaring crime, not a shocking video of police brutality. It hasn’t been perfect. Nor does Camden fit neatly into the national narrative since Floyd’s death. Long one of the country’s most dangerous cities, Camden was a place where local and state leaders wanted to put more cops on the street, not defund the police.

But this city of 74,000 people across the Delaware River from Philadelphia still offers lessons for Minneapolis, where a majority of city council members vowed to disband its police force to pursue “community-based public safety,” and other cities rethinking what policing should look like.

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More About the Movement

— In powerful, painful testimony, Philonise Floyd pleaded with Congress to implement sweeping restrictions on the use of force by police, the kind that led to the killing of his brother, George Floyd: “He didn’t deserve to die over 20 dollars.”

— Nearly 30 years ago, Rep. Karen Bass and other activists in South Los Angeles expected the beating of Rodney King — because it was videotaped — to spark a movement to reform policing. It fizzled, and she won’t watch it happen again.

— Two members of the L.A. City Council are calling for finding savings from the police budget — and plugging that money back into expanding a community policing program. Some activists say that misses the point.

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— Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the sweltering heat in downtown L.A. to decry the practices of the city’s law enforcement and protest Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey, who has come under fire for not prosecuting more police officers for misconduct.

No Turning Back on Reopening

Many parts of the U.S., including California, are experiencing a rise in coronavirus cases. But that doesn’t seem to be slowing the pace of reopening much. Despite the upward trajectory and a growing death toll, Gov. Gavin Newsom and other officials say there are no plans to reverse course.

In Orange County, the Disneyland Resort, closed since mid-March, is preparing to reopen July 17, just in time to celebrate the park’s 65th anniversary. It’s looking to begin a phased reopening then, pending local and state governmental approvals.

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Los Angeles County has announced that gyms and fitness facilities, pro-league arenas without audiences, day camps, museums, galleries, zoos, aquariums, campgrounds, RV parks, outdoor recreational areas including swimming pools, music, film and television production and hotels for leisure travel will be allowed to reopen Friday. That same day, film and TV productions will have the green light to start rolling cameras again. The further reopening comes as 1,275 new cases and an additional 61 deaths linked to COVID-19 were reported by county public health officials.

But in Riverside County, the public health officer announced that the two-weekend Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, along with its country music counterpart Stagecoach, will be off until next year at the earliest.

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

Nursing homes — like one in Norwalk, where county data show at least 42 residents and 32 employees have tested positive, and at least six have died — are still suffering outbreaks. The CEO of the company that oversees the Norwalk home acknowledged that it took “a little more than a week” to test staff after the first resident turned up positive.

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— California’s judicial leaders have rescinded an emergency coronavirus order that set bail at zero for defendants accused of low-level crimes. But a vote on whether to resume eviction and foreclosure court proceedings was suspended.

— Can we get a vaccine for COVID-19 by next year? This video explains what it would take.

For more, sign up for Coronavirus Today, a special edition of The Times’ Health and Science newsletter.

Trump Wants to Rally

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President Trump, who has been eager to get back on the campaign trail, said he’ll hold his first rally in more than three months on June 19 in Tulsa, Okla.

The rally not only raises the specter of spreading the coronavirus in the kind of mass gathering that public health officials have cautioned against, but it also comes on Juneteenth Day, when many Americans commemorate the end of slavery, in a city that was home to an infamous 1921 massacre of Black people, one of the worst racial atrocities in the nation’s history.

Trump did not acknowledge that history in his comments Wednesday and instead tweeted his opposition to removing the names of Confederate army leaders from military bases — the same day NASCAR banned the Confederate flag from its races and properties.

Meanwhile, as Trump struggles in the polls, the disenchantment of some older voters with him is undermining his support in key states such as Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Arizona. Trump isn’t facing a mass defection among older voters, but if the pattern holds, it could cost Trump a second term and mark a shift for Republicans in general.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

On May 31, 1931, the passenger ship Harvard ran aground after passing through heavy fog at Point Arguello. The Harvard and its sister ship, the Yale, had been popular steamships serving L.A. and San Francisco.

At the time of the grounding, nearly 500 passengers were on board. According to The Times, they were all rescued by a Navy ship. Several passengers told The Times it was not a particularly frightening experience. “Shipwreck de luxe is what it was,” said Mrs. Elizabeth Stoddard. “Nobody hurt, all our baggage saved, a ride on the Navy’s newest cruiser and a turkey dinner to top it off.”

The ship was a loss, though. Several weeks later, in June 1931, photographer Duke Ledford took aerial photos of the site, showing the Harvard in poor condition.

The wreck of the S.S. Harvard
June 12, 1931: The wreck of S.S. Harvard is shown in an aerial photo two weeks after the passenger ship ran aground in fog at Point Arguello. The forward third of the ship had already broken off.
(Duke Ledford / Los Angeles Times)
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CALIFORNIA

— The L.A. Police Commission ruled that an L.A. officer violated department policy when he fatally shot a mentally disabled man and wounded the man’s parents while shopping at a Costco.

— California voters would be asked to erase the state’s 24-year ban on affirmative action in November under a proposal approved by the state Assembly, with supporters arguing their effort is more important than ever amid nationwide protests for racial equality and justice.

— A coalition of Native American tribes has sued the state, seeking more time to qualify a sports betting initiative for the ballot. They argue that the coronavirus shutdown slowed their ability to collect signatures.

— Across L.A., George Floyd street art is sprouting as symbols of injustice and police brutality.

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NATION-WORLD

— A former federal judge appointed to review the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss criminal charges against Michael Flynn said there is “clear evidence of a gross abuse of prosecutorial power” and that the government “engaged in highly irregular conduct to benefit a political ally of the President.”

— A federal judge in Wisconsin has declined a request by Republicans to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Democrats seeking to make it easier to vote in the August state primary and November presidential elections.

— The U.S. wants to house missiles capable of threatening China in the Pacific. But officials in a Japanese territory and other allies are saying: Not on my island.

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— In South Korea, a high-tech registry aims to help resume nights of dancing, drinking or karaoke.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— HBO’s “Watchmen” and Netflix’s “When They See Us,” two acclaimed TV dramas that tackle racism and police brutality against Black people, are among the recipients of the 2020 Peabody Awards.

— Recently canceled “Cops” wasn’t the only crime show under scrutiny. TV is packed with hero cops from show creators like Dick Wolf, and critics say that’s part of what’s “killing us.”

— From “High Fidelity” to “The Great,” a new crop of quality TV shows centers flawed but compelling young women bursting forth in all their human messiness.

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— WarnerMedia has pulled “Gone With the Wind” from its HBO Max streaming service, but the company plans to return the Southern Civil War drama to its catalog once it adds disclaimers about the film’s racist depictions.

— Los Angeles TV writer and journalist Jas Waters, known for her work on series such as NBC’s “This Is Us”,” Jim Carrey’s “Kidding” and VH1’s “The Breaks,” has died in her Hollywood home at age 39.

BUSINESS

— The Federal Reserve, in its first full-scale assessment of the U.S. economy as it moves through the COVID-19 pandemic, signaled that it foresees a long and uncertain road to full recovery.

IBM is getting out of the facial recognition business, saying it’s concerned about how the technology can be used for mass surveillance and racial profiling.

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— High-profile studio Television City has pledged a $1-million endowment to improve diversity in the entertainment industry by training Black students and other young people from underrepresented communities to work behind the camera.

— The founder and CEO of CrossFit is stepping down after his tweet about George Floyd sparked a social media backlash and a wave of affiliated gyms cut ties with the company.

SPORTS

LeBron James is forming a group to protect Black voting rights.

— For the NHL, the battle to eradicate racism in hockey is far from over.

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OPINION

— What if the nation had met the crack epidemic of the 1980s with healthcare? It was a fork in the road and America chose racism, police and prisons over public health, The Times’ editorial board writes.

— The breakdown of Georgia‘s voting system on Tuesday should be a wake-up call for everyone, but especially for Republicans in Congress, writes senior editorial writer Michael McGough.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— Inside the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, where Seattle protesters gather without police. (Seattle Times)

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— A deep look at the complicated, century-old relationship between law enforcement and Hollywood. (Washington Post)

ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

Who are the greatest NCAA softball players of all time? According to ESPN, eight of the 11 players selected by voters through the network’s 7Innings podcast are products of Southern California high schools. See who made the team, along with the several other Southern Californians who were runners-up in the voting.

Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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