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« UK "Pakistanis" Not Welcome in the US | Main | What Price, Longevity? »

May 03, 2007


How horrible, Ruchira! I cannot imagine how dreadful it must feel to be in your shoes at this moment, worried about Sanjukta's injuries (however minor, you may still have to watch out for possible internal damage from the blows to the stomach.) To top it all, the fact that we are perhaps turning into a 'police state' of sorts. I'm feeling outraged beyond words.
One statement in the Indymedia article raises my hackles in particular:
"According to a witness, the melee began when someone in a crowd gathered on Alvarado Street between 7th and 8th Streets hurled something toward the police, as the Aztec danzantes performed for a group gathered on Alvarado. The witness reported that the motorcycle cops nudged the audience, then cops on foot split the crowd in the street and stormed them."

I wonder whether this was a planned agent provocateur situation, with someone paid to tee off already edgy cops and triggering the attack on unarmed civilians.

Terrible! I hope your daughter's physical injuries will not have a lasting effect, but to experience something like this must be truly frightening. It was very brave of her to be there and try to protect people. What happened is truly outrageous.


Hope your daughter is okay. As others have said, this is pretty outrageous.

what a relief that she is okay, how appalling that she was attacked; oh that makes me angry. what is really frustrating is the complacency of the LAPD account of things, saying, "Yeah, maybe we should look into that or something". Aside from the physical injuries, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can occurr after events like this, so I hope your daughter is taking care of her emotional safety as well. I'm sure she is and I hope you too are doing okay. Oh that makes me angry.

Hi Ruchira,

Thanks for writing about this. I am glad she is okay. But blows in the stomach? LAPD seems to be living up to its trigger happy reputation. I hope she pursues this case. Do keep us updated.

(And I suspect I am talking to a very proud parent)

This is outrageous. I'm so proud to be Sanjukta's aunt but also anxious about her physical condition and the rather oppressive circumstance. She needs to exercise a lot of caution to contain her sensitivity and survive with conviction and dignity...I wish her and her likes the best...

What in the name of heck is happening to this country? Your daughter showed a lot of courage. Hope she is well now and someone is held accountable for the assault.

Thank you all for your comments and concern. I spoke with my daughter this morning. As of 8am. PST, she was fine and on her way to the court. But I have asked her to get herself checked out by a doctor nevertheless.

Although I am happy that Sanjukta did what she did and was at the scene as an observer, I am appalled by what happened to her and others. She and I are in agreement in our world views perhaps 95% of the time. But we might react differently when faced with similarly threatening situations. As Sukrita pointed out, conviction tempered by caution would be more my style.

Yet, my daughter the warrior, was not in MacArthur Park in her battle mode and she was not uncautious. She was there with other NLG representatives as an observer in this case - like the journalists, photographers and others. Ironically enough, she was actually helping police efforts in crowd control when she was attacked. She will write her official report of the events for the NLG. I will learn more then.

Like all of you, I am outraged. I am also hugely relieved that things weren't more nightmarish. Let us see what comes out of the inquiry that the Mayor of L.A. and the LAPD Chief have promised.

I am happy to report that inspite of being struck with a baton in her stomach and a rubber bullet in her back, my daughter managed to note down the badge number of her assailant.

Sanjukta is so lucky to have such a supportive mom. Obviously she had a good role model.

Thanks to you both for raising awareness about these critical issues.

Gosh. I'm glad to hear Sanjukta's doing fine. I hope you are too -- sometimes events like these are tougher on the friends and family than on the victims themselves.

Also, though, parallels from India strike me. Much more than in the US, in (esp. rural) India -- lacking the more "humane" policing equipment like rubber bullets, water cannons or (god forbid) tasers -- being in a peaceful demonstration against the authorities can often lead to bizarre consequences. Villagers getting beaten up and endlessly locked up in remote corners of the country -- esp. those affected by the Naxalite civil war -- is such routine news that it wouldn't even make it to the main national dailies here.

That is where we have an even greater responsibility to be part of such demonstrations. In its own perverse way, a nice middle-class urban girl getting beaten up can be frankly quite the best thing to happen to a peaceful protest. Nothing makes the newspaper editor's pulse race faster than the idea that it could have been his own daughter.

Consider for example, this news item of a police lathicharge in an area where violence has become endemic and thus least newsworthy.

And then take the Delhi-based students and professors out of the equation.

... During her efforts, she was charged and beaten by a policeman.....
I am appalled at the rude and discourteous behavior of law protectors towards an individual. Hope she is feeling much better now, she is out of that trauma of being a victim to an unpleasant response towards her genuine effort. But her courage, her fighting instinct and that relentless drive unarmed despite being thwarted by some ruthless officer, is quite laudable. More power to her!


Hey Jyo, thanks for dropping by.

While I do agree that Sanjukta stood up to the bullying with admirable fortitude, the incident reflects not so much on her "courage" as it does on the "cowardice" of the well armed police.

I wonder if the notorious LAPD was sending a chilling message to not just those who were gathered there on May 1 but also beyond - to anyone else who may be thinking of standing up for First Amendment rights in the future.

"I wonder if the notorious LAPD was sending a chilling message to not just those who were gathered there on May 1 but also beyond - to anyone else who may be thinking of standing up for First Amendment rights in the future." - that was the way I thought about the entire thing as I was reading about it. Thank you for alerting me to this. I am glad to hear that your daugher is now OK.

I've only just returned online today, Sunday, after a few days off. I hadn't even been aware of the LA rally, yet I frequently listen to KPFK, LA's Pacifica station, up here in the Bay Area, where we also have KPFA. (Even now I'm listening to Ian Masters' terrific Sunday morning program, and I note that the station's web site has posted a memorial to one of its most enduring program hosts, Howard Larman. This all prompts me to consider posting a bit about the station...)

It's good to hear that your daughter is faring well, and it's not a bit surprising that LAPD officers continue to behave like imbeciles and beasts. However, the problem has as much to do with management, coordination, and preparation, as with the over-the-top belligerence of individuals. Such seems to be the gist of this article in today's LAT.

All the best to your daughter, whose work with NLG I applaud. The Guild also has--or had--an informative program on KPFK.

Ruchira, I'm relieved to know your daughter wasn't badly injured, physically. It is an ill omen if the deep injury to her personhood--and ours--is not quickly remedied.


I am relieved and thankful that Sanjukta is fine. As horrified as I am by the LAPD's response, it does not surprise me.(and you are right to wonder about the chilling message) The fear of something like this happening to me is precisely why my mother gets all nervous when I participate in protests even though our politics are about 95% in agreement as well. I do not know your daughter but it doesn't stop me from saying how proud I am of her. All the best to her and to all of you, always.


I have several questions about this incident, but it seems like all the media outlets are just quoting each other and not many of them have much of an explination for things. What do they mean when they say your daughter was attempting to "separate police from the crowd"? Was she dressed differently than the protesters or wearing anything to identify her as an observer? How did she manage to see the cop's badge during her brutal beeting?



I don't have any new information other than what I have reported here.

"Separate the police from the crowd" meant that she and other observers were trying to get vendors and other folks out of the way of the panicked crowd and the charging police.

Was she dressed differently than the protesters or wearing anything to identify her as an observer?

Yes. My daughter was wearing a bright NEON GREEN NLG hat that should easily be identifiable by members of law enforcement marking the wearer as an observer for the National Lawyer's Guild.

How did she manage to see the cop's badge during her brutal beeting?

You will notice that before the "brutal beeting(sic)" (your words, not mine - although I tend to agree), my daughter and the policeman exchanged words regarding whether she had a "right" to be there and to help people get to safety. That is when she noted the badge number.

Should add here that the photo of NLG observers I have linked to in the last comment,is from another gathering - not the May Day rally my daughter attended. But she had on a similar "green hat" as seen in the photo.

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