The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) deliberately allowed a Black Lives Matter protest to stage an illegal protest on Sunday night, disrupting traffic on the Interstate 405 and taking over intersections in the predominantly black neighborhood of Inglewood.
The decision was made in order to avoid confrontations with demonstrators, and to keep the protest out of the local media, according to LAPD officials interviewed by the Los Angeles Times.
“We’ve learned from the past sometimes a public protest that disrupts and interferes with overall public’s free movement is in the interest of public safety. Letting protesters stay on a road is better than a use of force,” said LAPD Capt. Andrew Neiman. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said that police were “trying not to become the issue.”
As Breitbart News noted earlier this week, protesters had marched from a local meeting to the 405 and snarled traffic in both directions.
Members of the press were puzzled as to where police were, as protesters blocked one of the busiest freeways in the country, and took over a nearby intersection.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) was also slow to clear the 405, according to the Times, which reports: “California Highway Patrol Officer John Fransen said his agency didn’t rush to reopen the road.”
The shooting last Thursday of twelve police officers and two civilians in Dallas, which resulted in the deaths of five officers, also played a role in the decision to yield public thoroughfares to protesters.
CHP Capt. Joshua Ehlers told the Times: “In light of Dallas, we don’t always know what we’re dealing with. The danger level, in all honesty, has gone up.”
The LAPD has come under intense criticism over the last two years for several officer-involved shootings of black men.
Crime has also spiked in the city as the police and city officials struggle to adapt to the task of law enforcement under close scrutiny and in the face of growing public mistrust.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, will be published by Regnery on July 25 and is available for pre-order through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.