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Class OK’d Over L.A. Police Dispersal of Rights Rally

LOS ANGELES (CN) - In the aftermath of the violent rout of an immigration rights rallyin Los Angeles, a federal judge has certified a class action against the Los Angeles Police Department. "The LAPD has issued unlawful dispersal orders and displayed excessive force against demonstrators in the past," wrote Judge Howard Matz.

He noted in particular a similar violent expulsion of demonstrators at the Democratic National Convention in 2000 and a report by the police department aboutthe more recent incidentthat said,"Chief Bratton was concerned that the department had identified many of these problems in the past and that the lessons learned had been forgotten."

Put most simply, the past patternof conduct bythe police department in Los Angeles is that any time a demonstrator throws something, the police start swinging their batons at everyone in the general area.

The judge said the past conduct of the police supported the standing of the plaintiffs to ask for an injunction against similar actionsin the future. "Plaintiffs need not establish that future harm is certain, or even probable," wrote Matz. "What they must establish is that recurrence is not "conjectural' or 'hypothetical'."

In finding thatthose who were violently ousted from tMacArthur Park on May Day did have standing,Matz said, "Given the unfortunate history of civil rights violations by LAPD officers, it is clear that the threat of future injury is not merely conjectural or hypothetical." seeruling.

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