Videos Show LAPD Beating and Shoving Protesters at Abortion Rights Rally

The demonstration, which sprung up after the Supreme Court’s draft opinion on Roe v. Wade leaked, eventually turned violent.
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A Los Angeles police officer was captured on video beating someone with a baton and another cop was seen tackling a person to the ground as onlookers repeatedly screamed “Fuck you!” at an abortion rights protest Tuesday evening.  

The demonstration, hosted by advocacy group Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, sprung up after Politico published a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade and the national right to abortion. Demonstrations started outside the federal courthouse in downtown LA around noon and turned into a march to Pershing Square. 


The videos show police officers and protesters screaming at each other and at least one instance of vandalism. In one case, protesters advance on a cop holding a baton and tell him to “Swing.” “Get close to me, you’ll find out what happens,” the officer replies. 

It’s not clear if any of the protesters sustained injuries. A spokesperson for the LAPD told VICE News that two of its officers were injured, hospitalized, and subsequently released, and an incident commander on scene told reporters no one in the estimated 1,000-person crowd was arrested. 

One social media video from the protest depicted a police officer pushing an apparent protester several feet, before they collapsed onto the ground. Another cop then swung a baton at protesters who got too close and hit at least one several times. People off-camera screamed, “Let him go!” and someone threw a shoe at the officer. 

In one video, cops sprinted up on protesters swarming a cop car and pushed them out of the way; in yet another, a cop pushed one protester into a car.

Numerous other videos showed protesters advancing on cops, several of whom were decked out in riot gear and guns, as well as police cars slowly driving through the crowds. At least one Department of Homeland Security vehicle can be seen in the videos. 

DHS didn’t immediately respond to a VICE News request for comment on why its officers were at the scene, and a spokesperson for the LAPD told VICE News Wednesday that they had no information on why DHS was at the protest. 


At one point, a protester smashed the back window of a DHS car—then tossed in some literature.

Speaking to reporters on scene, Captain Steve Ruiz, the LAPD’s incident commander for the protests, said a few people in the crowd of protesters caused the escalation. 

“There were unfortunately some instigators who had embedded themselves within the peaceful group who created some of the problems, breaking the law, some acts of vandalism,” he said

Ruiz said one officer was injured after being hit in the head and was in stable condition. 

Ruiz said there were no arrests and that police “protected the demonstrators’” First Amendment rights. He also said there were “no other injuries.” 

When local videographer Sean Beckner-Carmitchel said he witnessed cops striking people with batons and shoving them, however, Ruiz responded that some people fled after confronting police so he didn’t know if they were injured or not. 

He said he couldn’t comment on whether the police's response was adequate because he had not seen all the video footage. 

Skyler Soloman, lead organizer with Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, who is based in LA, said there were around 1,000 people in the crowd who were “dedicated to… remaining peaceful and to demonstrating bold, non-violent resistance.” 


Soloman said she didn’t witness the escalations between police and protesters. 

“As the police were showing up, we were moving our crowd outside, away from that area,” she said, noting “in a crowd of 1,000 people, it’s hard to keep eyes on everyone.” 

She said it’s “irresponsible” to focus on the confrontations between police and protesters in light of the impending reversal of Roe v. Wade.

“If we want to talk about violence, that is the real story,” she said. “It’s the violence of the government hijacking women’s bodies and forcing them to have children against their will.”

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