Chief Takes May Day Officers Off Street
Monday, May 7, 2007; 2:27 AM
LOS ANGELES -- Police Chief William Bratton said Sunday that up to 60 members of an elite squad that swarmed into a park and fired rubber bullets during a May Day immigration rally are no longer on the street.
Bratton said he spent the weekend viewing video of the MacArthur Park incident and he said LAPD failures were widespread with officers from the top on down culpable.
"I'm not going to defend the indefensible," Bratton told journalists groups during a meeting at a television studio in Hollywood. "Things were done that shouldn't have been done."
Journalists were among those roughed up as Metropolitan Division's B Platoon moved through MacArthur and fired 148 rubber bullets to break up what had been a peaceful and lawful immigration rally.
Police said they moved in after rocks and bottles were thrown at them by 30 to 40 agitators, he said.
The Metropolitan Division is the city's premier police squad, made up of experienced officers who have extensive training in crowd control.
Bratton said up to 60 members of the Metro's B Platoon are no longer in the field. Additionally, he said, some officers will "in all likelihood" not return to the Metropolitan Division.
"Some of this will be career-impacting," Bratton said, adding that imposition of permanent discipline will await completion of the Police Department investigation.
Journalist organizations asked why officers ignored LAPD policies toward the news media worked out after reporters were assaulted during the 2000 Democratic National Convention.
A 2002 agreement called for designation of a safe spot for reporters covering news events. LAPD spokeswoman Mary Grady acknowledged reporters were not given "a designated safe spot" at MacArthur Park.
"There appears to have been here a failure to communicate," Press Photographers Association local president John McCoy said.