LOS ANGELES (CN) – The Los Angeles Police Department raided a peaceful fund-raiser at an artist space and trampled the constitutional rights of all 100 people there, according to a federal class action. The class claims the cops intended to harass them in the November 2008 raid “because of their perceived political affiliations and their past complaints about LAPD misconduct.”
The named plaintiffs include an attorney, a community organizer, a high school teacher, a Ph.D. student and an artist. They say the cops demanded entry under “the pretext of searching for a petty theft suspect.”
“Several of the people who organized the fund-raiser do community organizing against police brutality … and are well-known to many police officers,” said attorney Colleen Flynn.
The class claims the officers arrived as the event began and said they didn’t need a warrant to search the building. The cops “immediately began detaining individuals inside,” forced them to line up outside and searched them.
A paraplegic black man in a wheelchair was among those detained. The attorney was among those lined up and searched outside and the community organizer was arrested as he tried to enter the building, according to the complaint.
The class demands statutory and punitive damages for constitutional violations. They are represented by Colleen Flynn.