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Activists say Police Presence was Provacotive

Activists groups are saying that the presence of the Los Angeles Police Department's Metropolitan Division at an immigration rally provoked violence.

The Metro Division was created to deal with riots, terrorism and other dangerous situations, and activists say the presence of the force was unnecessary at the rally.

The May Day immigration rally at MacArthur Park ended in the Metro Division's Platoon B firing rubber bullets into crowds of demonstrators. The rally was a peaceful and lawful demonstration, but police moved in after a group of agitators began throwing bottles and rocks.

Four investigations are in progress at the police department said LA Police Chief William Bratton. So far the investigations have determined that 148 rubber bullets were fired by the officers, not the originally reported 240, and between 30 and 40 demonstrators provoked police, not the 50 to 100 that police originally reported. Demonstrators and journalists were also beaten by police batons.

As a result of the violence, three protesters have filed federal lawsuits against the police department, claiming their constitutional rights were violated. Patti Ballaz, a camerawoman for a local television news station, has also filed a civil suit due to injuries she sustained during the altercation. Ballaz suffered a fractured wrist and ankle injuries.

Of the 600 officers in the Metro Division, 100 were involved. Bratton said that those officers have been removed from the streets while investigations continue.