Six rent-control advocates filed claims against the city Wednesday, saying they suffered from physical and emotional injury after city law enforcement officers clashed with them during a raucous City Council meeting last month. The half-dozen activists filed claims worth $100,000 each after they were booted from council chambers during a meeting at which the body postponed a decision on whether to freeze rent hikes on rent-controlled units in the city (it ultimately did not cap such rents this summer).
Plaintiffs' attorney Jaime Gutierrez said as many as 50 more activists were planning on filing claims. Police, he said, "responded with billy clubs, tasing, pushing, shoving and just
acting pretty much in the traditional manner they act towards working-class
families here in Los Angeles."
The lawyer claimed that people who are lobbyists and campaign contributors are treated better than working-class activists when addressing the council. The suit also names the City Council, the Los Angeles Police Department (although it appears General Services police usually have responsibility for council security), and Councilman Dennis Zine.
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Zine, a reserve Los Angeles police officer who said he's the one who ordered cops to clear the chambers, defended their actions and called the rent-control advocates "disruptive."
" ... They did not cooperate with they uniformed police officers when they were asked
-- then ordered -- to leave the council chamber,'' he said. "We weren't going to let it deteriorate into pandemonium in a City Council meeting."
-With reporting from City News Service. Got news? Email us.