LAPD Deputy Chief Charles Beck reported to the July 3rd L.A. police commission meeting that his June 26 decision to prevent an anti-immigration rally from taking place in Leimert Park, when a larger counter demonstration blocked park access, avoided certain physical violence.
On June 26th, known homeless activist Ted Hayes had a permit for his anti-immigrants’ rights group, known as Choose Black America, to march along the west side of Crenshaw Boulevard to Leimert Park where they would hold a rally.
According to Beck, there were 75 people involved in the march, including Hayes’ group and members of groups such as the Minutemen.
A counter demonstration of 250 immigrants’ rights activists formed on the east side of Crenshaw Boulevard as a reaction to Hayes’ group and blocked entrance into the park.
Seeing a potentially violent situation, LAPD formed a barrier between the two groups, Beck reported to the commission.
After hours of negotiating between the groups, Beck amended the conditions of the permit and offered a different location to hold the anti-immigrants’ rights rally.
“It’s the largest modification I’ve done,” Beck said of his decision to alter the permit.
Hayes and four of his followers, in an act of civil disobedience, attempted to cross the police line and were arrested.
Hayes and his group oppose “amnesty for illegal immigrants” on grounds that U.S.-born children of immigrants take government resources away from low-income African American communities.
“Immigrants are taking away carpentry and dry wall jobs because they’re willing to work for less,” said Hayes supporter and community activist David Hernandez.
Hayes and his group have said the LAPD infringed on their civil rights when they were prevented from assembling. Several members of Choose Black America, when speaking to the commission, said police actions taken in Leimert Park were influenced by the bad publicity of the May 1st incident in MacArthur Park, a claim that Beck refuted.
An African American female, a Leimert Park resident, joined in blocking off the park because of a white supremacy presence in Hayes group, referring mostly to the Minutemen.
The second Leimert Park resident to speak, a Latino male, said that he would block the park again if the Minutemen came back.