I have just gotten information over the past couple of hours that Bilal Ali, co-founder of Occupy the ‘Hood Los Angeles, was apparently beaten and detained by LAPD officers in last night’s actions.
According to several people who have contacted me, Bilal and Joseph Thomas were kettled away from a larger group of Occupy supporters near Pershing Square sometime between 2:30 and 3:00 a.m. and were beaten repeatedly by LAPD officers with battons. Bilal appeared to be injured, perhaps seriously.
Bilal is a very well-known organizer and advocate for tenants, workers and the homeless in downtown L.A., especially over the past 8-10 years. In particular Bilal has figured prominently in a series of major conflicts with the Central City Association over questions of their influence over the City Council and other public institutions, including the police. It is this same association that has been working behind the scenes to get Occupy L.A. evicted and to get the City Council to enact a special ordinance to prohibit the use of City Hall as a platform for public protests.
In June of last year, Bilal and approximately 20 others were physically assaulted by police INSIDE City Council chambers following a public hearing on extending a rent freeze for tenants throughout the city that attracted the largest turnout of tenants in the history of Los Angeles. Legal action later led to financial compensation for
the victims of this attack, and a judicial reprimand of City Hall police for the use of excessive force against peaceful protesters. Since that time, Bilal has been the target of numerous incidents of police harrassment, including being unlawfully detained outside his apartment building twice last summer. He has several complaints filed through the police commission related to these incidents.
Occupy the ‘Hood calls upon ALL Occupy Movement activists, ALL friends and supporters of Occupy the ‘Hood, and ALL progressive people in general to support Bilal Ali and ALL those arrested and detained in the police actions against the Occupy Movement last night and this morning. We are concerned with Bilal’s present physical condition, in particular. We believe he is being held at the Parker Center holding facility. No charges have as yet been filed against him that we know of.
We call for your support, and will post more information as soon as we get it.
Build the Occupy Movement!!!
Organize the 99%!!!
Free All Our Occupy Movement Detainees Now!!!
— Kwazi Nkrumah