Occupy L.A.’s price tag has been estimated to grow beyond $1 million as councilmembers audit the two-month-long protest, but LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said compared to other formerly occupied cities, Los Angeles may have fared the best.
“Every city paid a price for this movement, and if you look at the numbers tallied up in other cities, they are going to be far greater than what Los Angeles paid,” Beck said. “So, just to complain that we had to pay on this, I don’t think that’s valid.”
The ability to plan an eviction time at a set location allowed LAPD to manage officers’ hours so they would not go into overtime, Beck said.
Los Angeles would have paid a price for the movement no matter what city officials did, but what mattered are the kind of costs incurred, he added.
Upfront costs, which Beck said his department racked up, are more favorable to those of litigation costs many other cities will have to pay to settle lawsuits resulting from police brutality.
Beck said the eviction of Occupy L.A. was an opportunity to show his department’s softer side.
“We’re in a confrontation business, cops deal with confrontation every day,” Beck said. “So sometimes you have to step back and recognize – you know what, sometimes going to head to head is not the way to get what you want.”
Police from LAPD’s metropolitan division, the same division that incurred harsh criticism when hundreds of immigrants’ rights protesters were arrested during a violent clash with police at MacArthur Park in 2006, were part of the resolution between law enforcement and Occupy demonstrators.
Beck credited embedded police officers and preemptive arrests of protesters deemed potentially disruptive with what he called the success of Wednesday’s early morning eviction, which ended in almost 300 arrests.
Occupying Angelenos set up camp on City Hall Park nearly two months ago, and were on the receiving end of Beck’s compliments to NBC4 for their ability to police themselves.
“When people would start to get out of line or start to get confrontational with police, many times members of the crowd would confront them,” he said.