As many of you know, on August 30 there was a pro-Trump car caravan rally along Ventura Blvd where there were reports of a gun being fired. This week we received the welcome news from LAPD Deputy Chief Jorge Rodriguez that they have arrested and have in custody their main suspect.
There is a lot of mis-information about what did and did not happen during this rally. According to LAPD, this 28 year-old suspect was in a nearby apartment shouting and throwing glass bottles at rally participants. That escalated as the arguing continued with rally participants and the suspect pointed a rifle at a demonstrator. By the time police entered the apartment, the suspects were gone but they did recover the rifle. Investigators then went through all the evidence and recordings and arrested the suspect yesterday.
Anyone with additional knowledge of the incident is encouraged to contact Major Crimes Division Investigators at 213.486.7280. Anonymous tips can be made at 1.800.222.TIPS (8477) or go to www.lacrimestoppers.org.
While detectives initially linked tire damage to a shot, the investigation was unable to unequivocally confirm that shots were fired. Regardless, the first amendment right to peaceful protest and to criticize the government remains paramount. Though it appears that the suspect was triggered by the Trump Caravan, he was not known to be associated with the counter-protestors and he was in an apartment building that was at the top of Chalk Hill which was far from where the peaceful counter-protestors were demonstrating.
We do know there were reports of rude behavior and inappropriate taunting and while the demonstrators did not have formal permission from Taft High School to stage the Caravan on their property, the protest and counter-protest were non-violent. Also, the Caravan did not have a formal permit for the demonstration but they did apprise the Police of their plans and, like others who are exercising their first amendment they are allowed to do so without a permit. Similarly, the counter protestors were well within their rights to express their views and should not have been harassed by demonstrators trying to silence them.
Law enforcement is still investigating everything that happened, but this whole incident serves as a reminder that regardless of political divisions, violence is never the answer and must be always be condemned. It does not matter what side of the political spectrum you are on- politics is never an excuse to hurt someone, ruin property or cause harm to our community. It also shouldn’t be a reason to be rude to those who have a different point of view.
Like many of you, I have very strong views about this upcoming election and believe that the future of our country is literally at stake. I too am working hard to shape that outcome during my non-city time. But, we must all remember that the Presidential election is just over 50 days away and on November 4th, regardless of the outcome, we as a community will have to work together to move forward — so let’s not let the process tear us apart.