Luis Sinco/LA Times
The California Highway Patrol and local allied agencies, such as the Los Angeles Police Department, were inundated with calls for service on the evening of Nov. 9, 2016.
Numerous motorists called 9-1-1 to report that several areas of the US-101, near downtown L.A. were being taken over by large groups of people holding signs and shouting at passing vehicles.
Although it’s not entirely clear what the purpose of blocking the freeway and freeway ramps was, there was enough indications of political discourse.
The groups became verbally aggressive and physically uncooperative; many demonstrators took a seated position and refused to follow officer’s orders. The group’s reckless actions endangered thousands of innocent motorists because their path/exit was blocked and were being kept in place against their will for an extended period of time.
The group’s behavior also caused the response of hundreds of police officers, literally taking them away from their areas of responsibility and delaying emergency service response all over Los Angeles County. After several hours of Law Enforcement presence and enforcement actions, US-101 was reopened in the early morning hours.
The California Highway Patrol takes pride in being able to safeguard the rights of every citizen, including freedom of speech and freedom to assemble. However, when an assembly changes from peaceful to unlawful, and the actions of some reckless citizens begin to infringe on another person’s rights, including endangering them, the CHP will take swift action to restore safety.
As the case last night on the 101 freeway proved, enforcement action became necessary due to so many lives being endangered and ultimately, the groups intended message was lost in the chaos.
We encourage everyone in our communities to speak their mind and assemble with other like-minded people, but please do so peacefully and at an appropriate place. We cannot stress enough how dangerous it is for even one pedestrian to walk onto a freeway; we see too many collisions with tragic results as it is already.
It should be noted the actions of the group yesterday became unlawful as they walked on the freeway and their actions became criminal at the point they began affecting another person’s freedom and movement. The law enforcement community is prepared to respond, prepared to take immediate action and ultimately, prosecute to the full extent of the law any person that knowingly endangers another or infringes on their rights.
We are ALL one community and one nation, please keep the peace and respect one another.