FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCCUPY LONG BEACH GIVEN ULTIMATUM
OLB told to clear park of stored items by Sunday night
November 26, 2011
About 3:30PM on Friday, November 25, LBPD South Division Watch Commander Lt J. Liberman and two other officers served verbal notice to Occupy Long Beach (“the occupiers”) that the group’s belongings (other than sleeping bags and blankets in use at the time) must be removed from the park and the sidewalk by this Sunday, November 27 at 10PM or they will be confiscated and “donated to the Rescue Mission.” When questioned about the reason, Lt Liberman, who would not give his business card to us, responded that there had been several complaints from neighbors and the public about the “eyesore” at Lincoln Park. The occupiers requested a written notice but were told by Lt. Liberman, “You don’t have a right to a written notice.”
The occupiers reminded Lt Liberman that at its last meeting the City Council had requested a report from the City Manager and City Attorney regarding the use of the park by OLB for exercise of our first amendment right to peaceful assembly, and to explore the City’s options to work cooperatively with OLB. They pointed out that this report was on the City Council Agenda for Tuesday, December 6, when a decision would be made. Lt Liberman said he was aware of this.
The occupiers expressed their surprise, then, that the LBPD – which is not a policy making body – would take this drastic action before the Tuesday decision of the City Council – which is the policy making body of Long Beach. The confiscation would dramatically change the policy worked about weeks ago between the Civic Engagement Committee of OLB and representatives of the offices of the City Manager, the City Attorney, Special Events, and the LBPD. This agreement included that if there were problems on either side they would meet to discuss it. Lt Liberman barked “I am not going to debate philosophy.”
He added that if the occupiers were dissatisfied they could call the City Attorney or they could take it up with City Council. They responded that his Sunday deadline prevented OLB from discussing the LBPD’s ultimatum and appeal with any of the City officials before the threatened confiscation. The officer’s response: “we’re just here to enforce the law.” Lt. Liberman repeated “We are bending over backwards to work with you” and similar phrases several times.
For further information:
Jason James 213-595-5269
[This posting updated 11/29@7am - MC]