Tuesday, February 23, 2010

National Lawyer's Guild Press Release on UCLA PD Abuses at Nov. Regents Meeting


Contact: Kyle Todd, (720) 276-4584

UCLA National Lawyers Guild Law Students, Undergraduates, and Faculty Demand End to Police Abuse of Nonviolent Protestors

February 22, 2010, Los Angeles, CA— The UCLA School of Law chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), along with faculty members, students, and campus organizers, presented UCLA Chancellor Gene Block with a letter demanding an end to abuse of nonviolent protestors by the UCLA Police Department (UCPD). Following a 12:30pm press conference at UCLA’s Kerckhoff Hall, 405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, the crowd delivered the letter, which calls upon Chancellor Block to hold the UCPD accountable to university policies and federal law prohibiting the use of tasers and other instruments of excessive force on nonviolent protestors.

On November 18 and 19, 2009, numerous students were tased by officers from the UCPD and Los Angeles Police Department during nonviolent protests in opposition to the budget approved by University of California Board of Regents. “We gathered to speak-out against the fee hikes, cuts, and lay-offs and speak in favor of an accessible, affordable, and diverse public university,” said Alejandra Cruz, a UCLA Law student and campus organizer. “We were met instead with tasers, baton blows, and crowd-control guns. The great democratic legacy of public higher education was greatly compromised by the Regents' decision to increase fees and by UCPD's attempt to silence us with violence.”

At the press conference, NLG members, [faculty], tasing victims, and student organizers spoke about the need to reform UCPD practices and demanded an end to the officers’ violations of students’ constitutionally-protected rights. Photos of police repression from the November protests can be viewed at < http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=314382988315>.

After the press conference, the crowd delivered the NLG’s letter to Chancellor Block. The letter outlines legal precedent on tasers and shows their use is unwarranted on nonviolent demonstrators. The NLG also requests a meeting with Chancellor Block to further discuss the university’s policies and practices on tasers prior to the March 4th state-wide day of action in defense of public higher education, in which thousands of UCLA students and staff are expected to participate. “Students have a vested stake in the future of our state’s public university system,” said Cristina Gallo, NLG member and UCLA School of Law student. “We’re fighting to make sure that the university respects students’ and workers’ rights on March 4th and at future demonstrations.”

The letter and copies of the NLG’s previously-submitted Public Records Act request for UCLA’s full policy on tasers will be available to media in attendance. For a map of the UCLA campus, please visit http://www.ucla.edu/map/.

The NLG is dedicated to the need for basic change in the structure of our political and economic system. Our aim is to bring together all those who recognize the importance of safeguarding and extending the rights of workers, women, farmers, people with disabilities and people of color, upon whom the welfare of our entire nation depends; who seek actively to eliminate racism; and who work to maintain and protect our civil rights and liberties in the face of persistent attacks upon them.


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