Facing mounting criticism over the LAPD’s use of Jackie Robinson Stadium to process arrests of protesters during the uprising sparked by the death of George Floyd, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said such use was “a violation of our values” and that UCLA “must and will do better.”
“To see a space that’s so special to UCLA, particularly one dedicated to an iconic figure like Robinson, used as a place for punishing those who carry on his legacy is profoundly upsetting,” Block said in an emailed message to the UCLA community shortly before midnight Thursday. “The truth is that for many in our community, deeply anxious about police brutality and abuse of government power, that was deeply troubling. We understand and respect that. We failed to recognize these challenges in an inclusive manner that heard marginalized voices.”
Block said that the LAPD had sought and received permission from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, from which the university leases the stadium, to use its parking lot as a “staging area.” UCLA “knew about and failed to stop” that arrangement but did not know the site would be used to process arrests, he said.
“But allowing the LAPD to use the space even for staging during these recent protests was a mistake,” Block said.
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