LAPD Arrest Dozens of Protesters for 'Unlawful Assembly' on Election Night

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) arrested dozens of people near the Staples Center on election night after declaring gatherings unlawful.

The police department tweeted that an unlawful assembly was declared in the area of West Pico Boulevard and South Figueroa Street in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday night due to "a large and unruly crowd."

A picture of detained individuals, most of them clad in black with their hands cuffed with zip ties behind their backs, was shared in the tweet, along with an image of an LAPD officer apparently issuing dispersal orders over a loudspeaker.

Around 9.30 p.m., the police department said protesters were also ordered to clear the area a couple of blocks away, near the intersection of West 18th Street and South Figueroa Street.

UPDATE: Approximately 30 individuals were cited for being in the intersection. Approximately 40 individuals were arrested for blocking the train tracks and failing to disperse after an unlawful assembly was declared. This is preliminary information and subject to change.

— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) November 4, 2020

A video shared by the department showed officers blocking off access to a street as an announcement warning people to leave the area can be heard. "At this time, anyone in the area is to leave immediately and follow all orders from any police officer," the LAPD added.

The police department said a short time later that around 30 individuals were cited for being in the intersection while 40 people were arrested for blocking train tracks and failing to disperse after an unlawful assembly was declared.

The Los Angeles Times reported that police in riot gear also arrested a group of people near Washington Boulevard and South Grand Avenue at about 11 p.m.

The newspaper reported that around 50 people in total were arrested on Tuesday night. They were loaded onto buses and driven away, while some of those left behind yelled at police.

Most of the arrested individuals were protesters, but according to the Times, some were legal observers and others said they had just been walking in the area of the protest when they were detained.

Due to a large and unruly crowd, the LAPD has declared an unlawful assembly & issued a dispersal order in the area of Pico & Figueroa northwest corner. At this time, anyone in the area is to leave immediately and follow all orders from any police officer. This area is now closed.

— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) November 4, 2020

Richard Ybarra, the interim executive director of the National Lawyers Guild in Los Angeles, said five legal observers who were wearing the organization's green hats were among the people arrested.

"It's very unusual. The LAPD is well aware of our role there," Ybarra told the Times.

The LAPD has been contacted for additional comment.

The police department issued a citywide tactical alert "to ensure sufficient resources to address any incidents that may arise as a result of election day activities," but said it was not triggered by any specific incident.

But Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva recently said that he would have a "zero tolerance" policy for any violence or looting. He indicated that it was a response to the unrest seen in the city in the wake of George Floyd's killing at the end of May and in early June.

His warning also came after large crowds of people gathered outside the Staples Center after the Lakers won the NBA championship and following the Dodgers' World Series win last month. The celebrations were marred after vandalism and looting took place on both occasions.

Los Angeles police arrested dozens of people after declaring an unlawful assembly in downtown Los Angeles on election night. LAPD