LAPD seen hitting protesters with batons, firing rubber bullets amid peaceful demonstrations

LAPD seen hitting protesters with batons, firing rubber bullets amid peaceful demonstrations
© FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers were seen hitting peaceful demonstrators with batons and firing rubber bullets at them as they protested the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis police custody last week.

The incident happened in the city’s Fairfax district, according to ABC7, a local news channel that shared the video. 

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The video shows protesters were standing in front of a line of police officers until suddenly one officer began hitting the group with a baton. As the group of protesters dispersed, the police officers began shooting rubber bullets. 

In a statement to The Hill, the department acknowledged protests have led police to use force but failed to answer anything about the specific encounter.

In a response to ABC 7, the department did not directly address the encounter. 

"Protests, marches and demonstrations over the last several days have been often dynamic and at times dangerous situations for both officers and demonstrators," the statement said.

"A number of these gatherings have unfortunately devolved into chaos with rocks, bottles, and other projectiles being launched at police officers, who have sustained injuries that range from cuts and bruises to a fractured skull," it continued. 

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"We have also experienced vehicle and structure fires with widespread looting and destruction while trying to facilitate the first amendment rights of those peacefully demonstrating," the LAPD responded, according to the news channel. 

Protests have erupted nationwide in response to the killing of Floyd. The majority of protests have been peaceful. However, some have turned violent, resulting in both protesters and police officers clashing with one another. 

In some instances, bystander footage has shown police using force against demonstrators. Two police cruisers in New York City were seen lurching into a crowd of protesters Saturday. Other footage captured this week showed police use tear gas on what appear to be peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C.