Members of CSUN’s Movimento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Aztlan and the Black Student Union will participate in a “No More Police Brutality” march and rally on Saturday in Downtown Los Angeles at 12 p.m..
At the march, there will be a rally with speakers and alleged victims of police harassment and brutality, according to Carlos Moran, chair of M.E.Ch.A. Family members of people who have allegedly died due to police brutality will also speak at the event.
The National Coalition Against Police Brutality organized the march, and M.E.ChA. and BSU members are participating, not acting as event organizers, Moran said. The organizations have sent members to the event in previous years past, but Moran said the two groups were in collaborating more closely this year.
“Teachers, students (and) victims see the participation as a time to vent and address to the police what they’re going through,” said Brandy Wilson, president of the BSU. “We want to demonstrate that what we are doing is right and what (police officers) are doing to victims is wrong.”
In order to load the bus, people will need to sign a waiver, Moran said.
M.E.Ch.A. on Oct. 19 hosted a workshop during their weekly meeting about police brutality led by the Oct. 22 Coalition, the rally and march’s organizers.
Steve Whitmore, senior media adviser for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, said he supports the protest, with some reservations.
“As long as the protest remains peaceful, I’m all for it,” Whitmore said. “It’s good that people know about issues such as police brutality.”
When L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca was elected he spoke about the core values of his department, which are followed every day, Whitmore said.
“We have created (the) Office of Individual Representatives consisting of six civil rights attorneys, including a head attorney federal prosecutor,” he said. “The (office’s) sole mission is to ensure that there isn’t police brutality corruption.”
The most recent incident of alleged police brutality is that of Robert Davis, a retired elementary school teacher who was repeatedly punched in the head by police officers on a street in New Orleans. The incident was caught on tape by the Associated Press and aired on national television. Davis was allegedly charged with public intoxication, resisting arrest and battery and public intimidation, according news reports.
Moran said the individuals who experience the most harassment and police brutality are people of a lower socioeconomic status.
“None of this stuff happens in Granada Hills, Beverly Hills or any of these rich areas,” he said. “You hear about some poor community, some black or some Chicano/Latino young person, getting beat.”
Whitmore said that when sworn in, police officers are dedicated to distinguish between what is wrong and what is right.
“People on the street may think and/or have various opinions about police officers,” Whitmore said, in regard to police brutality.
Whitmore said that he does not know about other agencies, but that his “is committed (to) honor, ethics and integrity,” Whitmore said. It is a requirement for all police officers to have sworn stand against police brutality before transitioning into police officers, he said.
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