Bill Bratton LAPD Police

MAY DAY: The LAPD Lays It All Out……Sort Of


As I posted yesterday, the “Final Report on the MacArthur Park Incident”-
–also known as the May Day Melee report— was presented to the Police Commission Tuesday morning.

And, in your spare time, you too can download all 80 plus pages in PDF form from the LAPD website. The thing includes diagrams, training manual excerpts, and a minute-by-minute timeline of how matters went south—and it actually makes for pretty interesting reading (or skimming, if I am to be completely honest).

While some people present at MacArthur Park that day (and their lawyers) have already disagreed with certain perceptions put forth in the timeline, nearly all agree that the report is truly heartening for its detail and transparency.

From nearly day one, Bill Bratton and his command staff have displayed a willingness to issue in-depth mea culpas—a 180-degree change from the pre-Bratton years when the LAPD’s knee-jerk MO was to place blame anywhere BUT on the department’s shoulders—no matter how laughable the logic required to perform this pretzelling of responsibility.

Yet, again Tuesday Chief Bratton apologized
to both the rank and file and to the public—an act that most listening agreed is completely unheard of. “In 33 years,” said Police Union head, Tim Sands, “I’ve never seen it.”

The report was written in the same spirit
by Deputy Chief Michael Hillman, and LAPD Consent Decree head, Gerry Chaleff, and it lays out with unusual candor all the missteps made by those in command that ultimately resulted in the mayhem that left 40-some people injured and resulted in more than 100 lawsuits.

Among the problems cited are the following:

There were contradictory orders given….there was a failure to “issue a lawful dispersal order” to the crowd….there was an inexplicable okay of the use of force on the crowd… a lack of communication and “abrogation of responsibility” by incident commanders.

And then, even when things started to get really out of control,
none of the on-scene shot callers bothered to pass that information up the chain of command (a VERY big deal, according to Chief Bratton).

Moreover, the report doesn’t just list failures, it names names, calling out all those brass who blew it—something that is, in itself, unprecedented.

The seriousness with which the department intends to take the report
was heralded last spring when Bratton made swift changes at the top, yanking two of the men who take the much of the report’s heat. Former South Bureau Deputy Chief Caylor “Lee” Carter, and Commander Louis Gray were replaced by Deputy Chief Sergio Diaz, and Commander Andrew Smith.

Unfortunately, the report is far less complete
when it comes explaining the acts of the Metro guys (and/or women) who actually did all the whacking and “non-lethal” shooting of reporters and fleeing parents with children, which turned up in video form on YouTube for the viewing pleasure of millions.

Since it’s the actions of the rampaging Metro officers
that most concern us, in this respect the report is unsatisfying.

In deference to state law, the names of the 26 officers who’ve been identified as having used force have not been released. Yet, according to the Chief, those same 26 are still being investigated by Internal Affairs.

“Each officer who used force that day is responsible for explaining his or her actions,” said Bratton on Patt Morrison’s show Tuesday afternoon.

But, we’ve been down this road many times with the department, and too often in the past, “reasonable explanations” somehow magically appear once use of force incidents arrive at Internal Affairs.

All day Tuesday, the Police Protective League’s Tim Sands,
continued to beat the drum about May Day being the result of a lack of adequate training. But, as one member of command staff put it to me privately, “You don’t need more training to know that its not okay to hit nonviolent immigrant mothers with your baton. That’s not a training issue.

It’s a common sense issue.

Yesterday, I was chatting with my journalist pal and long-time LAPD chronicler Joe Domanick, about what was left out of the report. Joe said that he too admired the way that Bratton has reacted to the incident—now and back in May.

“But neither the Chief,” he said, “nor anyone else on his command staff has satisfactorily explained what was going on in the minds of these Metro officers that caused them to do what they did to the public and the press, five years into Bill Bratton’s leadership.”


In the end, that’s still the question that needs to be answered. Or, to put it another way: Why after all this time, do we still have 26 cops who felt it was permissible to embody the attitude expressed by a Metro officer who was overheard saying on one of the May Day audio recordings:

“I don’t care if they’re not throwing stuff at us now….we get to roll.”


  • The report lays the blame for the start of trouble on the Anarchists. Looks like the Anarchists outsmarted the LAPD once again. I still remember all the lawsuits against the LAPD after the 2000 Democratic Nation Convention, when the Anarchists came to town. I have talked to a few Anarchists even back in 2000, and learned they come from all over the country, a large group arrived from the state of Oregon and Washington. Most of the Anarchists are very young 17-20 year olds.

    I am surprised some supposedly educated red-necks still aren’t aware that May 1, refers to any of several holidays celebrated on this day. These holidays include several pagan celebrations, celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Roman Catholic tradition, and International Workers’ Day, which is a public holiday in many countries. And that many U.S. citizens celebrate this and other events including immigration reform rallies. But I guess this should be expected from an educated red-neck who would elect/defend an idiot to the office of President not only once but twice.

    I wonder if the LAPD commanders on May 1, were so stupid as to hang a banner declaring “Mission Accomplished” after clearing the park? I will retract the previous statement, who could be so stupid?

  • The mission referenced by the banner was accomplished and was a pat on the back to the soldiers who successfully completed that. Of course, to any liberal, one is not allowed to praise soldiers and our military. The mission in Iraq now is completely different and should not take away from previous accomplishments of our men and women in service. Who could be so stupid to think otherwise?

  • P.S. The comment from LA Res just reinforces that everything from park protests to taking out the garbage has some connection with Iraq and Iraq must be mentioned. Pathetic.

  • Ah, yes, May 1st as “International Workers Day,” a fine holiday celebrated in Soviet Russia and, until they broke free in 89, was an enforced celebration in the occupied “Eastern bloc” of Europe. Which the educated people resented. Too bad you can’t appreciate the irony of that.

    But yes, you would support a communist/socialist holiday “celebrating” the victory of the proletariat over the “ruling” i.e., to you, automatically evil and dictatorial classes. Chop off their heads! Shoot them in trenches, and let the uneducated “proletariat” take over and do a much better job of ruling the country. Which is why Russia became such a flaming success after their “victory” and upto the present time. Putin still won’t relinquish dictatorship and either incarcerates or murders anyone who challenges him, from billionaires to journalists to spies, even visiting Russian-Americans (like the mother-daughter couple) get into the mix. As someone whose family estate was taken away by the communists, and whose parents narrowly escaped execution or the camp by being reduced to the landless peasant class, and whose parents fled communism literally for their lives, I’m not so keen on reminders of these communist “celebratory” holidays.

    As for making excuses for the agitators on May 1st, whose actions are on video (and Mexican-American friends of mine had info that Mecha / Reconquista students were planning to disrupt the day), trying to overlook the facts by making some irrelevant link to another protest that went awry, that is just “not worthy,” as sages Bill and Ted would say. What other country would have even allowed pro-illegals to march, openly advocating flaunting our immigration laws? Can you imagine this in Mexico? They’re very harsh to other Latins like Guatemalans, who are often fleeing genuine persecution or starvation — they’re seen as inferior. Even Canada is getting panicked, with Mexicans starting to enter that country across from the Detroit area — and they’ve only had maybe a few thousand illegal immigrants so far. While I of course agree no one should be physically harmed by the cops, except as a last resort, they take blame for their failures: which is more than the pro-illegal supporters do, who bend over backward to blame the cops and call them liars with evidence to the contrary.

  • Above, I meant my great-grandparents, not parents, had their estate taken away, and it was only by this “luck” of being reduced from minor nobility to landless peasant class, that their lives were spared. This “healthy contempt” for the landed and educated classes was passed down to my dad, hence the battles we had about my valuing what he’d been taught is a sure way to lose your life or at best, be forever suspect in a land where the proletariat is celebrated. Mom’s family being from Finland originally didn’t help matters. (Hypocrisies of the Party elite notwithstanding. Yes, we have our own Fabian Nunez-type hypocrite “champions of the working class,” but at least people don’t lose their lives for questioning them.)

  • Maggie I remember another person here telling your reading comprehension was non-existent well now I have to agree your reading comprehension sucks.

    No where did I say I support any anarchists or International Workers’ Day please learn to read, you are becoming as annoying as Woody. And nowhere did I make excuses for anybody’s conduct of rock throwing. Again you reading comprehension sucks, try reading before making ridiculous diatribes.

    You and the other red-neck make the assumption that illegal aliens were the trouble-makers at the rally but I was pointing out that Anarchists and others show up to the same immigration rally because it is on the same day and take advantage/hijack the immigration rally for other causes.
    Try reading the LAPD report and learn a little something.
    And believe or not you can not tell person’s immigration status by the color of their skin. You are coming across as the closet racist which you are afraid to admit you are.

  • One other thing the date of May 1 was selected for the immigration rallies because of it’s proximity to the Cinco De Mayo and celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary. A few local radio D.J.s were the ones who were able to use their popular radio shows to unite hundreds of thousands of demonstrators for the first immigration rally.

  • L A Res., if you ramble on and throw a number of ideas into one run-on stream-of-consciousness “apology,” then tell people not to link them, you need to clarify your thoughts first into something resembling linear thinking.

    It’s only a matter of time before people like you throw terms like “closet racist” around at anyone who’s not extreme left.

  • L A Res., … you ramble on and throw a number of ideas into one run-on stream-of-consciousness…

    Pot meet kettle.

  • Woody as usual you are wrong, the most well known D.J. and organizer of immigrant rally participants is “El Cucuy de la Mañana” – or, “the Bogeyman of the Morning” – on KLAX-FM “La Raza” radio which is owned by Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc., Raúl Alarcón, Jr., Chairman, CEO and President. You really should read before you blurt out things you know nothing about.

    The other well know D.J. is KSCA’s morning host, “Piolín” Sotero.

  • Extreme leftists who left to spend OPM unite: thank goodness you people are too busy making no sense to actually run things. Listener, still waiting for your bank account info, those ambulance chasers are getting restless and our taxes can’t go up for at least another year. They can’t wait.

  • The illegals have ruined our city. Take a drive around. The immigrants who came here years ago learned how to speak English, were clean and abide by our laws. These illegals live in filth, trash their neighborhoods allow their kids to join gangs. The keep having kids to get welfare, over crowd our schools, close down our clinics and now have an arrogant attitude becuase of our dumb Latino politicans. Los Angeles now looks like TJ thanks to them. Their the ones who aren’t getting taxed, the legal residents are. Word is ICE is coming to LA just like other cities and we can hardly wait.

  • Maggie writes – “Extreme leftists who left to spend OPM unite.”

    That is correct, we extremists “left” to spend, and they say we make no sense. That my dear, is ironic!

  • live to spend, dear leftist, is the clear intent of that line but, given your druthers, you leftists would love to be left to spend OPM until you achieve Blade Runner ruination in a matter of mere days. (Some typos are indeed Freudian.)

  • Woody, you are correct there were many law breakers on May 1, and the city of Los Angeles will pay dearly because of the law breakers swinging there Billy-Clubs.

  • Alan M: At first I thought “Janet” was really L A Res under one of his pseudonyms, parodying a racist, but these people are typical of those who comment on blogs like Mayor Sam, and listen to KFI’s Jon and Ken, Kevin James, etc. But although I enjoy your CityBeat, you might have gone the opposite way on the Mayor’s “Negro Problem” this week, re: Jeffs. If you read Brady Westwater’s blog LA Cowboy (he writes for the NC journal CityWatch, and is pretty straightforward), Jeffs was fired from her last job working for Chicago, but the Gov. of Ill. spent months persuading her to actually leave, and she had a similar prev. experience, too. So she’s hardly had a stellar career so far, and maybe buying into the black community’s argument that is is a “black” civil rights issue isn’t correct, maybe she should be evaluated as an individual. And re: Antonio not being too swift overall in his dealings with “people of color,” as a Hispanic, he’s not exactly white himself is doing a pretty good job of reaching out to all the communities of L A. To be really color-blind, we’re going to have to stop seeing every problem as a Latino issue (Janet), or a “black” issue even where race never entered into a firing. By the way, curious how it’s Bernie Parks, whose botched firing you say opened the way for Antonio to replace Hahn, has volunteered to work out an agreement with Jeffs in his role as a fiscal conservative.

  • Maggie, I did post a comment as “Janet”, there are plenty of red-necks around, I don’t need to pretend to be one of them. In case you were wondering why there are students enrolled in Chicano Studies and Afro-American Studies, it is because of people like Janet. What do you think the Jewish community would do if some people start telling us what a great leader Hitler was?

  • L A Res, you meant you did NOT post a comment as Janet, no? Since you “don’t need to pretend to be one of them.” Those typo demons just haunt this blog.

  • Interesting all the posts calling people racists because of their personal opinions. Are Latinos born and raised here racists because they don’t support the illegals? There are many latinos who are sick and tired of having to look at the blight in the city because not one politician has the guts to speak out against illegal vending and breaking the law. There’s a big difference between the Latinos born here and the illegals. People catorgize all Latinos in the same group. The Mecha educators are the most racist group. All they see is color. And speaking of John and Ken of KFI they have hundreds of Latino listeners who call in every show saying the same thing about the illegals. Take a drive down MacArthur Park and see what a hell hole it is.

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