L.A. says it won’t seek criminal charges or fines

Faced with growing criticism over the arrests of hundreds of peaceful demonstrators, top Los Angeles law enforcement officials said Sunday they will not pursue criminal or financial penalties against the protesters.

The decision follows complaints by many of those arrested that they spent hours in plastic handcuffs in crammed buses without justification, leaving them with injuries and potentially exposing them to the coronavirus. Many of those were taken into custody last week for either violating curfew rules or failing to disperse after the LAPD had declared their protest unlawful.

A lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and Black Lives Matter L.A. claims the curfews illegally suppressed constitutionally protected protests and violated people’s freedom of movement. The organizations have also decried videos that show police officers responding with violence against protesters, including swinging batons and firing foam and sponge projectiles.

Those advocates said the city’s new stance does not resolve all the concerns outlined in the lawsuit. They added that officials shouldn’t waffle on repercussions but rather dismiss the charges immediately.

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