UPDATE: “Africa’s” name is Charley Keunang.
More videos may be added soon as they upload.
On March 1st, 2015 in downtown Los Angeles, the Skid Row homeless resident who went by “Africa” was attacked and shot to death by police, and it was all caught on video that went instantly viral, enraging the nation once again. As usual I shared and ranted about it, but this time it had the uncommon element of propelling me to go out there (not that easy for me, but at least just in the next state over, and it’s my homecity- last time a video called for me to come was Bundy Ranch), and when I heard there was going to be a protest on the morning of Tuesday March 3rd, I took the bus out there Monday night just before midnight.
As soon as I got to Grand Central Station at 6:20am, I sat down and overheard people near me playing the video on repeat, loudly. Others commented on it and this brought to the forefront how real and big this had gotten so quickly. I told them about the protest and they said they would try to go.
I got to the protest site at 6th and San Pedro about 7:45, and at least 50 people surrounded the memorial where he had been killed in front of a tree. It quickly grew to over 150-200 people, and the energy maintained by songs, speeches, chants, and drums was very palpable. We began marching up San Pedro around 8:30.
We turned on a street towards the LAPD Headquarters and at I believe Temple, a line of bicycle cops awaited us. After a few moments of being surrounded (mostly by press), they dispersed and took off on their bikes to let us through. Instead of continuing straight up the hill, we turned and marched behind them, onward to LAPD HQ.http://youtu.be/TvuxvuFLFzQ%5D [youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bl4KUAHdwRk%5D
When we arrived at the behemoth LAPD Headquarters around 9, there had to be well over 300 people in the open area. The enery was kicked up even more with powerful speeches breaking out everywhere, chalking, a die-in, song and dance, chants, and so on. Police taped up the side entrance we came in and another set of stairs next to it, but the front facing City Hall behind us remained open. Some protesters went in to give comments at the Police Commission meeting, but cameras weren’t allowed to go in.
Around 10:45-11 I had to recharge my phone and tablet, came back after about 30 minutes, and most were gone. I got a couple videos of young people angrily speaking to the cops and then found out their friend, and well-known activist and Anti-Media writer Lissa Bissa (Twitter: @pentagonista also seen in videos I shot) was arrested when trying to walk into the hearing, without being given a reason. I interviewed her friends, two girls and a guy (the girl speaking being Evelyn Vanessa Aparicio Chavez). I asked the cops on camera as well and they would give no answers. She wasn’t even taking any pictures or video or holding a phone each time I saw her before that. (Update: Anti-Media article on Alissa’s arrest can be found here: http://t.co/EJIzoEi6OB)
My battery ran out again, and I charged from maybe 11:45-12ish, and returned to only the male friend, Amari Shakur (aside from Adam Kokesh and his assistant), who informed me the two other female friends had been arrested as well. The one who talked to me in the prior interview, Evelyn, was attacked by five cops. I started an interview with him but got cut off after 16 seconds. He pointed out and shouted at the cops who took her down as they left the building, holding old-looking riot gear. I barely got a picture as they exited the premises. So yes I missed THREE arrests. Fortunately Adam Kokesh (Twitter: @AdamKokesh) got the footage and I imagine it should be up soon.[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fagpt5HT6A%5D
I also asked Captain Graham, the one cop who seemed to have slight conversational ability, why she was arrested, and he said for trespassing, even though I pointed out and he confirmed that the Police Commission held a public meeting. This video also cut out halfway through my questioning.[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sr_FFjf9pbA%5D
After that I charged again, returned around 1pm when the rest were leaving the LAPD HQ, to walk over to the city jail and find out where their friends were. On the way off the premises, one protester started speaking about their friend just getting beat up and some production guy tried to grab or push the girl who was speaking. It conflated quickly and the guy backed away and said he was calling the cops (started video then), and they moved the camera away, but then moved it back to record the girl yelling. It dissipated as quickly as it heated up and the group continued on to the Los Angeles Detention Center.
We went into the jail visiting lobby and P.M. Beers and Cassandra Fairbanks (Twitter: @CassandraRules and @PMBeers) asked the cop for info on Lissa, and he eventually said she was being booked there and gave the code of her offense- said she must’ve asked the cop to fight her- to which Cassandra replied there is no way that happened, she was right there. I got some of this on video and then they told me cameras weren’t allowed to I put it down and got a second part on audio. I believe they then got the info of the second girl while I once again had to recharge.
On the way back around 1:30-2, as we headed out, a protester told another rehearsing mainstream media reporter about the 5 cops beating up a young girl, and he just kept a very smug smile on his face and repeatedly said “thanks for your opinion” and such, very snarky and fake.
I returned later that day around 9pm, told there’d be more protesting, but it may have been too late and all I saw was lots more chalking (Las Vegas’s Sunset Collective activist/pro chalker Ballentine paid a visit that I didn’t even expect), and barricades just brought out by police since the protest. I suppose in preparation for following days. There is another bigger march planned for Saturday March 7th, which I will likely make, but I encourage everyone to go who can.