- Los Angeles Police department used Jackie Robinson Stadium at UCLA as a “field jail” to detain Black Lives Matter protesters.
- In a statement released late Tuesday night, the university condemned the use of the field and denied that they gave the LAPD permission to operate there.
- The police department acknowledged that it had used the stadium – named after the man who broke MLB’s colour line – to process arrests, but an officer told NBC they are “no longer using it.”
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The Los Angeles Police Department has arrested nearly 3,000 individuals in connection to the Black Lives Matter protests that have arisen in response to the death of George Floyd.
And on Monday night, the department used UCLA’s Jackie Robinson Stadium as a “field jail” to detain demonstrators, some of whom were university students.
UCLA urban planning professor Ananya Roy brought the police’s actions at the stadium to light late Tuesday night. She, along with 15 other faculty members at the esteemed university, signed a letter to the school’s leadership “demanding a full account, immediate cessation of such use of UCLA facilities & concrete steps towards divestment,” Roy tweeted.
It was brought to our attention that last night LAPD used Jackie Robinson Stadium @UCLA to detain protesters. Read the faculty letter demanding a full account, immediate cessation of such use of UCLA facilities & concrete steps towards divestment: https://t.co/1rdHn78BBy pic.twitter.com/cC988C2Sc0
— Ananya Roy (@ananyaUCLA) June 3, 2020
The university responded in an official capacity shortly thereafter, tweeting that they never gave the LAPD permission to operate at the stadium and that leadership is “troubled by accounts of Jackie Robinson stadium being used as a ‘field jail.'”
In addition to confirming that police had vacated the property, university officials insisted that they would “NOT grant permission [to local agencies] should there be a request like this in the future.”
We’re troubled by accounts of Jackie Robinson stadium being used as a “field jail.” This was done without UCLA’s knowledge or permission. As lessee of the stadium, we informed local agencies that UCLA will NOT grant permission should there be a request like this in the future.
— UCLA (@UCLA) June 3, 2020
The 1,800-person stadium – which plays host to the UCLA Bruins baseball team – is named in honour of Jackie Robinson, a former UCLA student-athlete who broke Major League Baseball’s colour barrier when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
The university is technically a lessee of the stadium, which sits on land dedicated to federal Veterans Affairs. According to a tweet from the official UCLA Health account, the city of Los Angeles had been using the stadium as a city-sponsored COVID-19 testing location prior to the protests. It’s unclear when the city began using the land for other purposes.
An individual who claims to have been arrested and detained at the stadium claims that he was held by police for five hours without access to food, water, or bathrooms.
I was arrested during a peaceful protest on June 1. UCLA has converted a COVID testing site into a field headquarters for the polIce to process arrestees at Jackie Robinson Stadium. This was my experience:
I was among the first arrested in a crowd of about one hundred.
— J (@awyeahyeehaw) June 2, 2020
Protesters have organised in cities across the country after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin suffocated George Floyd – an unarmed black man – by kneeling on his neck for more than eight minutes during Floyd’s arrest. Floyd died of asphyxiation, and Chauvin has since been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Still, the three other officers present at the scene have yet to be charged, prompting outrage to boil over in yet another instance of police brutality in the United States.
Tensions rose even further in Los Angeles after police chief Michel Moore suggested Monday that looters and protesters were just as responsible for Floyd’s death as the officers who killed him.
“His death is on their hands, as much as it is on those officers,” Moore said. He’s since walked back the comments.
Protests in Los Angeles and across the country are ongoing, with many cities introducing curfews to help curtail violence and destruction after dark.
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