LAPD declares citywide tactical alert in anticipation of election night unrest

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The Los Angeles Police Department issued a citywide tactical alert Tuesday in anticipation of demonstrations and potential violence on election night.

The alert is to ensure “sufficient resources to address any incidents that may arise as a result of Election Day activities, but is not a result of any specific incident,” the department said in a tweet, adding that it’s committed to ensuring adequate resources are available to guarantee Angelenos are able to vote safely, without interference.

Across much of Southern California, merchants boarded up storefronts as authorities assured there would be a large police presence amid worries of unrest.

The alert comes after recent celebrations of the championship wins of the Lakers and the Dodgers which brought Angelenos to the streets with some rowdiness, despite the coronavirus pandemic and large police presence. The summer also saw many nights of mostly peaceful protests against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s shooting, with some instances of vandalism and looting.

On Tuesday, the city banned laser pointers and laser-style devices from public demonstrations, rallies, protests and picket lines. The department cited 24 incidents in the last year in which people had eye damage after being hit with a laser beam, the Los Angeles Times reported, with the targets being police officers in all but four of the two dozen cases.

LAPD said it is fully committed to protecting everyone’s First Amendment right to peacefully assemble and protest. But the department asked the public not to bring certain prohibited items, including laser pointers, while attending or participating in any public demonstration.

The list of prohibited items include:

  1. Any length of lumber, wood, or wood lath unless that object is 1/4 inch or less in thickness and 2 inches or less in width, or if not generally rectangular in shape, such object shall not exceed 3/4 inch in its thickest dimension. Both ends of the lumber, wood or wood lath shall be blunt.
  2. Any length of metal or plastic pipe, whether hollow or solid; provided, however, that hollow plastic piping not exceeding 3/4 inch in its thickest dimension and not exceeding 1/8 inch in wall thickness, and not filled with any material, liquid, gas or solid may be used solely to support a sign, banner, placard, puppet or other similar expressive display. Both ends of any plastic pipe permissible under this subsection shall be blunt.
  3. Signs, posters, banners, plaques or notices, whether or not mounted on a length of material permitted under Subdivisions 1. and 2. of this section, unless such sign, poster, banner, plaque or notice is constructed solely of soft material, such as cloth, paper, soft plastic capable of being rolled or folded, or cardboard material no greater than 1/4 inch in thickness;
  4. Baseball or softball bats, regardless of composition or size; provided, however, that such items are permissible when configured of cloth, cardboard, soft plastic, foam or paper for expressive purposes
  5. Any aerosol spray, tear gas, mace, pepper spray or bear repellant
  6. Any projectile launcher or other device, such as a catapult or wrist rocket, which is commonly used for the purpose of launching, hurling or throwing any object, liquid, material or other substance, whether through force of air pressure, spring action or any other mechanism
  7. Weapons such as firearms, knives, swords, sabers or other bladed devices, axes, hatchets, ice picks, razor blades, nunchucks or martial arts weapons of any kind, box cutters, pellet or BB guns, conducted electrical weapons (CEWs), including, but not limited to, Tasers or stun guns, metal/composite/ wooden knuckles, or any chain greater than 20 inches in length or greater than 1/4 inch in diameter. This subdivision also includes toy or replica firearms unless such toy or replica is fluorescent colored or transparent
  8. Balloons, bottles or any other container such as water cannons or super-soakers, filled with any flammable, biohazard or other noxious matter which is injurious, or nauseous, sickening or irritating to any of the senses, with intent to throw, drop, pour, disperse, deposit, release, discharge or expose the same in, upon or about any demonstration, rally, protest, picket line or public assembly
  9. Glass bottles, whether empty or filled
  10. Open flame torches, lanterns or other devices that utilize combustible materials such as gasoline, kerosene, propane or other fuel sources
  11. Shields made of metal, wood, hard plastic or any combination thereof
  12. Bricks, rocks, pieces of asphalt, concrete, pellets or ball bearings
  13. Laser pointers or laser-style devices emitting any color beam, milliwatt output level, intensity class level or any visibility level, including infrared, or nonvisible.

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