Occupy L.A. Protesters Held On $5,000 Bail
Occupy L.A. protesters arrested Wednesday morning are being held on $5,000 bail.
A total of 292 people were arrested for refusing to leave camp grounds, and are charged with misdemeanors.
City attorney spokesman John Franklin believes that the Los Angeles Police Department is violating the California Penal Code §853.6 for dealing with arrested protestors.
“Anyone charged with a misdemeanor shall be released with a written notice to appear,” said board member and attorney for the National Lawyers Guild Carol Sobel.
Instead, Sobel said the Los Angeles Police Department is “refusing to release anyone arrested in the Occupy raids with a notice to appear. The city is holding them in jail on $5,000 bail until they can be arraigned by a judge, which can take up to 48 hours.”
The LAPD disagreed with the guild's stance.
“The code section cited by the guild is not mandatory,” said Chief Deputy City Attorney William Carter.
Carter states that the LAPD has multiple options in dealing with arrested protesters under California Penal Code.
They are allowed to detain, book and release them with notice to appear in court or detain, book, and recommend bail based on “any mitigation or aggravating factors involved,” said Carter.
When cases are referred to the City Attorney’s Office, it can take up to 48 hours from the time of arrest to decide if they will be charged or not. Attorneys will also consider the protesters background to see if they had a criminal past, used force against a police officer, or damaged any public property, according to Carter.
Despite these reasons, the National Lawyers Guild is still calling for an immediate release of those arrested. The arrest and bail only “punishing people for exercising their First Amendment rights,” said Sobel.
While police officers may have successfully cleared out the crowd at City Hall Park, a smaller group of Occupy LA protestors gathered at Pershing Square this afternoon for a scheduled candlelight vigil, but the vigil did not actually occur.
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