BEVERLY HILLS— On Monday, August 24, the city of Beverly Hills filed misdemeanor curfew violation charges against 25 individuals involved in a June 26 protest.
On June 13, Beverly Hills indefinitely banned nighttime gatherings of 10 or more people in residential areas. Silent assemblies, like candlelight vigils and gatherings on private property, were exempt from this order.
According to the BHPD, the June 26 protest started around 7:30 p.m. and ended at 1:10 a.m. after it was declared unlawful. It was organized by the Black Future Project near Beverly Gardens Park. Music was played throughout the streets and many chanted “No justice, no peace.” The BHPD employed a sonic weapon device that emits a warning tone higher than the human threshold of pain.
Two dozen protesters were arrested on charges of unlawful assembly. An additional protester was charged on suspicion of arson after an outbreak of a fire. The protesters were held in custody on $5,000 bail.
Canyon News spoke to Beverly Hills spokesperson Keith Sterling.
“The protesters were in a residential area at night violating the City’s ordinance. BHPD instructed the protesters to disperse or they would be arrested. They were told by their attorneys on scene that if they did not want to be arrested, they should leave now. Some of the protesters chose to stay and be arrested. When the remaining protesters were taken into custody, they were brought to our City jail. Due to the volume of arrests, the booking process took some time. Once it was complete, those arrested were cited and released,” said Sterling.
He added: “We are going to treat these prosecutions the same as we treat other prosecutions that are violations of the municipal code. The public safety benefits are the same benefits of any prosecutions. Dapeer Rosenblit and Litvak is the prosecuting firm – they are outside attorneys the City contracts with. Prosecutors make the determination on the charges to be filed. They do not take direction from the City Council, so the Mayor/Council is not part of that decision making.”
This decision is in contrast to Los Angeles County and the city of Los Angeles who will not prosecute protesters arrested for defying curfew or dispersal orders.