Nearly 300 protesters were arrested early Wednesday morning when 1,400 LAPD officers raided the Occupy L.A. encampment in City Hall Park.
Police Chief Charlie Beck talked to NBC4 about his department’s handling of the situation.
“The L.A. crowd was different. We had established a relationship with this group that spanned almost two months,” Beck said. “Because of that relationship, I think that (the protesters) made a pledge to non-violence that allowed us to do what we did.”
A full-time command officer was always present at the City Hall park encampment during the 8-week occupation, Beck said, to be serve as a point of contact with the protesters.
Beck noted that though they may not have always agreed with the demonstrators, LAPD communicated with them.
Hundreds of Angelenos camped out on the lawn surrounding City Hall for almost two months, and police used a divide-sector tactic to remove those protesting against corporate greed and political corruption.
LAPD divided the two-acre park into what Beck called manageable sections in under two minutes.
“We were going to deal with this occupation one way or another,” Beck said. “They are not going to go away, and that’s what we’ve said from the beginning. This group is a national movement, it’s not going to disperse and go away. We’re going to have to deal with it.”
Beck was asked what role undercover LAPD officers played in identifying troublesome protesters before the planned eviction. He said having the group in one place for an extended period of time gave them a “tremendous tactical advantage.”
That made “it much, much easier for us to plan and do a real thorough job of making sure that we have everything in our favor before we act,” he said.