Arrested Occupy LA protesters
denied constitutional rights
Dear supporter of the ANSWER Coalition,
Not only were hundreds of people arrested in the police raid in Los Angeles last night but the LAPD and Mayor, having socked each arrested person with a $5,000 bail, are now refusing to release them from jail and are refusing to allow them to meet with their attorneys.
National Lawyers Guild board member, Carol Sobel, condemned the action of the LAPD. “The Los Angeles Police Department is deliberately refusing to release anyone arrested in the Occupy raids with a notice to appear. The City is holding them in jail on $5,000 bail until they can be arraigned by a judge, which can take up to 48 hours. This punishes people for exercising their First Amendment rights.”
Sobel continued: “California law is clear. Penal Code §853.6 is mandatory in requiring that anyone charged with a misdemeanor shall be released with a written notice to appear.”
Eyewitness report from attorney Ian Thompson
Ian Thompson is an attorney and the ANSWER Los Angeles coordinator. He is the attorney for arrested activists Mike Prysner and Doug Kauffman.
“This afternoon, after finding out where Occupy LA protesters were being held following last night’s assault and eviction of peaceful demonstrators carried out by the LAPD, I went down to check on the status of my clients and others who were arrested.
“When I arrived, the doors were closed and a line had formed outside. I saw a notice which read, 'Front lobby closed until further notice.'
“I knocked on the door to talk to someone. An LAPD officer came out. I told him I was an attorney for two of the protesters being held inside. 'We are closed,' he said. 'You cannot visit your clients or anyone.' He informed me I could not post bail or talk to anyone there. 'Call my watch commander,' he added.
“I then called the watch commander with the same request. 'You cannot see your clients,' he told me. 'Call back in several hours.'
“Hundreds of people are being held inside this jail without access to legal counsel. As of now they are being held on $5,000 bail until they can be arraigned which can take up to 48 hours. Apparently the LAPD and Mayor Villaraigosa are refusing to allow people to post the bail even if they can.
“This is unconscionable and a violation of civil rights for my clients and all people held inside,” Thompson stated.
In the press statement calling for the release of the arrested people, the National Lawyers Guild chapter in Los Angeles said, “New York City was successfully sued in 2004 when they tried the same tactic against individuals involved in protesting at the Republican National Convention.”