Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Defend WL Against LA Cop Harassment! (1976)

Workers Vanguard No. 125 (17 September 1976)

Defend WL Against LA Cop Harassment!

Late last month a southern California court announced that seven supporters of the Young Socialists (YS), youth group of the Healyite Workers League, will stand trial October 13 for “dancing without a permit” at a Workers League office in Huntington Park, California. The outrageous charge was made following a police raid on a July 10 YS social attended by 11 persons. Five youths were arrested and all 11 given citations carrying $50 fines. (Charges against four of the youth who were under 18 years of age have already been thrown out of court.)

At 9:30 p.m., before the dance had even begun, two policemen entered the office without a warrant, scanned the literature on display, harassed the occupants and left.

Thirty minutes after their departure, three club-wielding policemen entered the office, again without a warrant, one of whom demanded to see a license for the office and threatened to shut down the premises on the spot if one were not produced at once. After being shown a license, he demanded to know whether the YS had a permit to hold a dance. When asked if it were illegal to hold a dance, he and the other two left, but not without muttering that any of those present living in Huntington Park could expect a police visit at their homes.

Shortly afterward, three squad cars arrived on the scene, with a fourth stationed down the street. The same three cops barged through the door, knocking over one person and threatening another with a felony charge and a $1,000 fine for touching a policeman.

Everyone was ordered to move up against a table, and five of those present were handcuffed and taken to the police station. The cops refused to show anyone a copy of the law under which the citations were issued and failed to inform the five who were arrested of their rights. One woman was struck on the side of the head, and one officer was overheard to ask his sergeant: “Can I choke this black bitch?”

This outrageous attack on an office of the Workers League must be understood as an attack upon the entire working-class movement. The Spartacist League/ Spartacus Youth League and Partisan Defense Committee protest this cop harassment and demand that all charges against those attending the YS dance be dropped immediately!

The Workers League has requested that letters, telegrams and messages of protest regarding this incident be sent to: Mayor Herb A. Hennes. Jr. 6550 Miles Avenue, Huntington Park, CA 90255