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Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : 4 Students, 1 Ally Arrested in Prop. 187 Protest : Palmdale: Police said an officer was hurt in fray after some marchers threw rocks and then resisted arrest.


PALMDALE — Five people were arrested Thursday morning after Palmdale High School students participating in an anti-Proposition 187 march threw rocks at passing cars and got into an altercation with police, authorities said.

Sheriff's deputies had to use pepper spray three times to ward off students while making arrests, and one deputy suffered minor head cuts from an attack, Sgt. Bob Denham of the Antelope Valley Sheriff's Station said. He said no students were injured during the incident.

Authorities said about 165 students walked off campus at 9:40 a.m. to protest the ballot initiative, which would deny public services, such as education and most medical care, to illegal residents. Several students began throwing rocks intermittently at passing vehicles as the group walked west on Palmdale Boulevard.

"They said they were doing that in protest," Denham said, adding: "We haven't identified any victims yet, but we do know that there were cars damaged."

A handful of sheriff's deputies monitoring the march called for reinforcements and about 30 officers confronted the mostly Latino group at 11 a.m. at a large empty lot at 10th Street West, Denham said. He said most students were cooperative, but about 20 resisted deputies' efforts to arrest those suspected of rock throwing.

Deputy Chris Cleveland was punched in the face by a student and attacked from behind by at least one other while trying to arrest a suspected rock thrower, Denham said. A struggle ensued and one student was arrested by nearby officers for trying to free the student suspected of throwing the punch, who was also arrested.

Two other students were arrested on suspicion of felony assault with a deadly weapon in the rock throwing, he said. Also, Ruben Barahas, 19, a Palmdale resident who joined the march as it progressed, was arrested on suspicion of a misdemeanor offense of interfering with a police officer.

The four students, all males 16 or 17 years old, were transported to Challenger Memorial Center in Lancaster, where they were likely to be released to their parents Thursday night unless "they have a history of involvement with the authorities," said William Gerth, director of the Lancaster center. Barahas was cited and released from custody at the sheriff's station.

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