The American Civil Liberties Union, along with four other legal organizations, sought a restraining order to stop what it claims is harassment of demonstrators prior to next week’s Democratic National Convention. According to the Associated Press, ACLU attorney Daniel P. Tokaji said that close to two dozen incidents of LAPD harassment have occurred this past week, all centered around the demonstrators’ headquarters in MacArthur Park. Allegations include constant surveillance by LAPD squad cars and helicopters, building searches without warrants, photographing people entering and leaving the building, as well as detaining people without just cause. “Freedom of speech cannot survive in an atmosphere where fear predominates,” said Tokaji.
The LAPD has been plagued with allegations of police officers involved in beatings and shootings of citizens, perjury, drug dealing and sex discrimination. The Feminist Majority Foundation’s National Center for Women & Policing has successfully spearheaded community efforts to increase the representation of women in law enforcement in Los Angeles and to improve police response to violence against women.