LAPD packed arrested protesters in confined space for hours, heightening coronavirus risk

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Protesters are loaded onto a bus after being arrested for violating curfew along Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood on June 1, 2020. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Protesters are loaded onto a bus after being arrested for violating curfew along Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood on June 1, 2020. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

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After spending months closely observing health officials’ warnings about the dangers of the coronavirus, Stephanie Van Sickel had a decision to make as protesters marched through downtown L.A. late last month.

Van Sickel, 32, lives with a nurse who had been getting tested for the virus at least once a week. She knew that joining the crowds of thousands who had taken to the street to protest the killing of George Floyd and larger issues with police brutality would increase her chances of getting sick, but she also felt compelled to get off the sidelines.

“It was definitely a big decision she and I made going out there,” Van Sickel said. “But we decided there are some things that are more important than your own personal safety.”

Van Sickel said she spent three hours marching throughout downtown L.A., mostly with groups of people who were masked and observing social distancing. But by the end of the night, her hands were zip-tied together as she was crammed onto a bus and put in close contact with other demonstrators. They were all under arrest for violating a dispersal order many of them would later claim they never heard.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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