Although nearly all of LA’s May Day demonstrators and LA’s police, did their respective jobs on Tuesday without causing grief for each other, there were a couple of exceptions.
There was for instance the fool kid in the first video above who cheap-shotted a 5’1″ 115 lb. LAPD officer in the back of the helmet with some kind of drum, the whack hard enough to dent the officer’s helmet, and send her to the hospital (mostly just to make sure all was well).
Then in video number two, a couple of other sense-challenged individuals slammed another group of LAPDs from the back with a wooden pallet. They appeared to do so for no discernible reason other than a large passel of the protesters were yelling “F*ck the po-lice,” so the pallet wielders decided that they would, F*ck with the po-lice, I guess.
Commander Andrew Smith, who was the department’s main spokesperson on the ground on May 1, sounded a bit on the tired side when I caught up with him on Wednesday. Still he was upbeat and said that—other than the two incidents—he felt that everything had gone really well, on both sides, protesters and police. “It was just a really long day,” he said.
We also talked about the difference between the LAPD that policed the May Day protests of 2012 and the LAPD that reacted to the Rodney King riots of 20 years ago.
“Somebody asked me recently about what had changed in the department since then,” he said. “Afterward I was thinking about it. And, really, the answer is, ‘Everything.’ Everything has changed in this department. And, as much as a lot of us hate to say it, I think it took an outsider to do it.
“Meaning Bill Bratton,” I said. “Plus the consent decree.”
Right. And the consent decree.
Which is what it will take to reform certain other law enforcement agencies I could mention—good leadership, the willingness to lop off some heads, metaphorically speaking, and perhaps a federal consent decree.
But that’s a conversation for another day.
IN THE MEANTIME, A LAST NOTE TO THOSE OCCUPIERS STILL UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT OF WHOM THEY ARE PROTESTING AGAINST: Hint: It isn’t the po-lice. Unless they are shooting at you unaccountably with less-than-lethal projectiles and flash-bangs, or whooshing you in the mouth with pepper spray, law enforcement is not the enemy. The cops are the 99 percenters too. They are you.