Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton will discipline 11 officers and will seek the dismissal of four others for their roles in a May Day 2007 melee in which police were accused of using excessive force to clear immigration rights demonstrators and journalists from MacArthur Park. The Los Angeles Times says the penalties mark a significant step in the Los Angeles Police Department’s effort to recover from an incident that Bratton called “a phenomenal black eye.” Officers were videotaped wielding batons and shooting rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse a largely peaceful crowd. A scathing internal investigation blamed poor leadership and overly aggressive tactics by officers in the field.
Deputy Chief Mark Perez said officers were being punished for excessive use of force, failing to rein in other officers or lying to investigators during the inquiry. Bratton must send officers he wants to fire before a three-person disciplinary panel known as a Board of Rights. After considering the evidence, the panel can find that the officer should be fired, suffer a less severe punishment, or be vindicated. Police Board Commissioner John Mack said, “We all saw what happened that day, and there were things that happened that shouldn’t have happened.”