Los Angeles police arrested six people at a party near USC that they say got out of hand after some partygoers began pelting officers with debris, authorities said Monday.
One police officer was injured in the early Sunday morning incident, said LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman.
But several USC students told the Daily Trojan that the LAPD’s response with dozens of officers in riot gear was overly aggressive and uncalled for. Students were planning a sit-in Monday from noon to 4 p.m. at the campus.
Some students told the campus newspaper they felt racial discrimination was involved in the police response, saying most of the people at the party were black or Latino and that those parties were more likely to be targeted than those attended by other groups.
But LAPD officials said they responded to two parties across the street from each other after noise complaints and that the situation escalated after people at one of the parties got out of hand.
Neiman said officers from the Southwest Division responded to complaints about a loud party in the area of West 23rd and Hoover streets shortly after 2 a.m. He said they spoke to the organizer of the first party and it seemed as if he would comply by lowering the music and shutting down the party.
Neiman said they went to a second party across the street, which started shutting down.
“During that time, Party 1 started up again. We went back to Party 1, having warned the organizer,” he said. “We went to cite the organizer and while we were trying to talk to him out front and cite him, another partygoer tried to intervene.”
Neiman said there was a use of police force on that person because he resisted arrested. He was eventually arrested on suspicion of felony interfering with the work of police officers.
“Other partygoers started throwing things at the police, so the officers asked for additional resources,” Neiman said.
He said dozens of LAPD officers, as well as officers from USC’s Department of Public Safety responded. In addition to the first person arrested, five other people were arrested for failing to disperse, Neiman said.
“One officer had a serious injury to his shoulder during one of the altercations,” he said. “He was taken to a local hospital, treated and released. He’s going to need additional follow-up.”
Neiman said the LAPD has received a number of complaints from “citizens against officers for how they perceived the party was closed down.”
He said a unit of the department’s internal affairs division would investigate complaints, including allegations of racial bias.
Neiman said the LAPD and the university’s Department of Public Safety would hold an open form at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center Ballroom to discuss the issues raised by the incident.
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