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At Least 10 Arrested In Calif. During Officer Acquittals Protest

At least 10 demonstrators were arrested on Saturday in Fullerton, Calif., after a protest over two officers acquitted in the death of a homeless man turned violent.

The Los Angeles Times reports that most of the arrests came after a television news videographer was attacked and police issued an order ending the rally. The paper adds:

"The woman who struck the videographer was arrested on suspicion of assault and two other protesters were arrested earlier in the day for vandalism, [Sgt. Jeff Stuart] said. After the reporter was attacked and the dispersal order was issued, seven more people were arrested for refusing to leave, he said.

"'We have bent over backward today to allow them to protest, hoping to keep it peaceful,' Stuart said."

The case of Kelly Thomas has spurred emotional reactions from many camps. As the AP explains, 37-year-old Thomas died five days after a confrontation with six officers in July of 2011.

"A surveillance camera captured him screaming for his father and begging for air as the police kneed him, jolted him with an electric stun gun and used the blunt end to strike him around the face and head," the AP adds.

Two officers in that videotape were charged in his death, but, earlier this month, both of the them were acquitted.

The Los Angeles Times reports that protesters in Fullerton demanded justice for Thomas.

"We did lose this battle," 22-year-old Julie McDonnell told the paper. "But we're not going to stop fighting for change in Fullerton and across the country."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.