The Los Angeles Police Department revealed this week that one arrest had been made related to a tenant-led weekend protest that turned violent.

In a statement dated Friday, police stated that on October 1 “several members of the group engaged in criminal conduct which necessitated the intervention of law enforcement,” and that when officers began to initiate arrests, other members of the crowd began to intervene and chaos ensued. 

At least one news outlet reported on the LAPD statement on Thursday.

In the scuffle with protestors, LAPD said, one person was able to forcibly remove department property from an officer’s person and was then able to evade arrest. 

Through investigation, officers identified the suspect as 57-year-old Gustavo Otzoy, who was eventually arrested two days later. Otzoy remains in custody under a robbery charge, according to the LAPD.

LAPD also attributes the actions of the protestors to injuries of seven officers, the extent of which remains unknown. 

But Leonardo Vilchis-Zarate, a volunteer organizer for the LA Tenants Union, said that demonstrators were met with violence as well, many left the march bloody and bruised after being hit with police batons in the torso, arms and face.

Vilchis-Zarate also recalled seeing a woman bleeding from her ears, mouth and nose being rushed to a hospital to be evaluated for a concussion. 

Sunday’s tenants’ march in Boyle Heights. Photos by Frank Cardenas (@RedEastLos323) used with permission.

Union de Vecinos, the Eastside branch of the LA Tenants Union, organized the protest and said around 500 people were marching in solidarity with their cause. 

The march was planned to protest a proposed rent hike by the LA Housing Department that would bump the annual rent increase for rent stabilized units in Los Angeles to nearly 9%, almost triple to what the allowed increase was before the pandemic.

A separate press release by Union de Vecinos, published Friday, highlights that the LAPD did not issue a warning or an order to disperse and that the police “attacked an exercise of civil rights without provocation.”

The same press release also reads, “We will not let these attacks on tenants stop our movement. We cannot speak in our homes against landlords because they retaliate against us, the city council tries to silence us, the housing department ignores us. Now the police attack us. Our peaceful movement won’t be stopped”

The LA Tenants Union and Union de Vecinos will hold a demonstration denouncing the actions of LAPD outside of Hollenbeck Police Station this Sunday, Oct. 8 at 10 a.m.

LAPD confirmed that the investigation into “additional crimes related to this incident” is ongoing. The full LAPD press release can be read here.

Andrew Lopez is a Los Angeles native with roots all over the eastside. He studied Humanities at Pasadena City College and transferred to San Francisco State University to study Broadcast and Electronic...

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