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Los Angeles City Council requests report on LAPD action at UCLA, USC encampments

LAPD officers stand in a line wearing riot gear. The Los Angeles City Council passed a motion requesting reports about LAPD’s actions during the Palestine solidarity encampments at UCLA and the University of Southern California. (Aidan Sun/Daily Bruin)

By Gabrielle Gillette

June 4, 2024 8:24 p.m.

This post was updated June 5 at 11:29 p.m.

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed a motion Tuesday requesting a report from LAPD and the LA County Office of Inspector General regarding LAPD’s decisions during Palestine solidarity encampments at UCLA and the University of Southern California.

Councilmembers Nithya Raman, Katy Yaroslavsky, Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Curren Price introduced the motion May 7. The motion requests an after action report from the interim and eventual chief of LAPD on the department’s actions leading up to and during protests at both universities between April 24 and May 6, including at what time intervention from LAPD was requested. 

Yaroslavsky – who represents District 5, which includes UCLA – declined requests for comment.

The motion also requested that LAPD and the Office of Inspector General provide a report on decisions surrounding the size, timing and methodology of LAPD’s deployments at the encampments at UCLA and USC, as well as providing information about any future protocol changes to improve departmental policy. 

LAPD and the Office of Inspector General did not respond to requests for comment. 

In the meeting, Raman said the reports aim to answer questions expressed by the public by looking critically at how decisions were made about police action. 

“What I’m hearing, really, is that an honest look at this response – an effort to figure out exactly what happened on our campuses – is essential,” Raman said during the meeting. “The people of this city are entitled to understand how their rights are being protected.”

Former UCPD Police Chief John Thomas told the Daily Bruin the department called several different agencies for assistance during the counter-protester attack on the UCLA encampment April 30, but the attacks continued for hours without police intervention. 

Law enforcement had been called for immediate support, according to a press release by Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications Mary Osako sent at 12:12 a.m May 1. Two UCPD cars and one UCLA EMT arrived on the scene at 11:13 p.m., but all left the scene by 11:21 p.m. The Daily Bruin witnessed around 70 police officers on the scene around 3 a.m. May 1.

No arrests were made April 30 and May 1. However, on May 2 – the day the encampment was cleared by police – more than 200 arrests were made. 

[Related: Law enforcement leadership structure at UCLA faces scrutiny in wake of encampment]

Before the vote was called, Council President Paul Krekorian said the council has no ability to press or drop charges against protesters.

During the meeting, Raman said she was compelled to introduce the motion alongside other council members because she saw a difference in how the two encampments were handled. Raman referred to the April arrests of nonviolent protesters at USC in comparison to the lack of police presence at UCLA during the violent counter-protester attacks April 30 and the morning of May 1.

“I’m concerned that these divergent responses leave our communities with questions and particularly leave our communities wondering whether the response protesters may get from law enforcement depends on their politics rather than on their actions,” Raman said during the meeting. “I would like us as a city to answer some of those questions for the public.”

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