LA County taxpayers are footing the bill for the defense of UCLA’s arrested protesters

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted last week to provide legal assistance for those who were arrested when law enforcement moved in to get rid of the anti-Israel encampment at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Over 200 people were arrested earlier this month when California Highway Patrolmen in riot gear breached the fortified encampment, which was located outside of Royce Hall. Those who were arrested was due to them not dispersing and often fighting with CHP, despite being given multiple warnings to leave. The west end of the camp was left open for people who were willing to leave.

The ones who stayed and fought with the police did so willingly.

Fox News national correspondent Bill Melugin reported all board members except for one voted in favor of the motion. The legal assistance will be provided through the Public Defender’s Office.

But I believe they don’t have the legal authority to micromanage like this.’

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While public defense was already an option to protesters who were arrested if they wanted a public defender, “In this case, the County is directing the PD office to provide taxpayer resources [and] services for a defense for this specific population they’ve chosen over others, track the cases, then report back on the resolutions in 60 days,” Melugin noted.

“But a defendant can only make the choice to opt for representation from the public defender if they show they can’t afford to hire an attorney. The Board of Supervisors appoints the Public Defender, but I believe they don’t have the legal authority to micromanage like this,” California-based attorney Laura Powell said in response.

Out of the 200 who were arrested, some were released from jail soon after without being charged with anything, according to the Daily Bruin.

Christopher Bou Saeed, an L.A.-based criminal defense and civil rights attorney, told the Daily Bruin he saw charges that he felt were unjust as a result of previous demonstrations.

“In prior protests, there have been filings that I didn’t think were warranted, and I’ve represented people in the George Floyd protests with charges that I didn’t think were supported by the evidence,” he said.

Beyond trespassing and resisting arrest, 43 had been charged with conspiracy to commit burglary.

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​Politics, La, La county, Ucla 

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