Los Angeles

LA City Council Looking to Expand List of Prohibited Items at Protests

Looking to avoid the violence that marred recent protests in cities including Charlottesville, Virginia, the Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to draft an ordinance that would expand a list of prohibited items at public demonstrations.

The list of banned items could include pepper spray, metal signs, stun guns, drones, combustible liquids, spray paint, gas masks, improvised shields and others.

"As we have seen in demonstrations around the country, these events are becoming violent more frequently," the motion, introduced by Councilman Mitchell Englander, states. "We are seeing devices such as poles, sticks, signs, as well as certain types of containers including glass bottles and many other items used as improvised weapons thus resulting in injuries and property damage." 

The council voted 13-0 on the motion, which directs the city attorney to consult with the police department and draft an ordinance expanding the list of banned items. Although the motion includes suggested items to include on the list, it would be up to the city attorney to determine which ones should be included.

The ordinance could also ban protesters from carrying tiki torches near buildings or people.

At an August protest, tiki torch-carrying white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville marched around a statue of Robert E. Lee. The next day, the group squared off against some counter-protesters in a day of violence in which dozens were injured and one counter-protester was killed when a car allegedly driven by a white supremacist crashed into a crowd.

"We're looking at best practices. These are rallies and protests and meetings where these issues have occurred in the past," Englander said at a meeting of the Public Safety Committee last week.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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