News And Politics

Youth Justice Coalition cleanup of former Hyde Park Library goes awry [Updated]

Dec. 13, 2011, 11:11 a.m.

Updated at noon with information from LAPD. And updated at 1:37 p.m. with details of next steps from Youth Justice Coalition

An attempt to "liberate" a former library in South Los Angeles changed gears today as organizers were forced to vacate the structure after a dispute with police.

The coalition intended to clean up the former Hyde Park Library on 6527 Crenshaw Blvd. and have workshops and distribute food starting today which would last until Friday, said Kurti Parekh, program coordinator for the coalition.

But at 9 a.m. LAPD officers arrived at the library and said the group did not have permission to be there, Sara Faden of the LAPD said.

Faden alleged the group was not planning to clean up the facility but rather "occupy the building for demonstration purposes."

No arrests occurred, but Faden indicated charges for trespassing or disobeying an official order to disperse could come if the group remained in the building.

The structure is currently owned by the Community Redevelopment Agency and is slated to become residential housing, according to the CRA web site.

In an e-mail, the Youth Justice Coalition called the action a "liberation." Parekh said the action was inspired by the Occupy movement.

"The purpose is [to say], 'LA, you know, really shift your priorities, your dollars things that are going to be a lot more productive,'" she said.

However, as the action started today, problems arose with police. Negotiations were attempted but ended in all of the coalition members leaving the site.

Parekh said the Youth Justice Coalition had talked to the CRA about the cleanup, but express permission was not granted. OnCentral made an inquiry to the South LA regional office of the CRA, but the organization had yet to make an official reply.

"The truth is that abandoned spaces can really be utilized better than this," Parekh said.

Parekh and other organizers have set up meetings with LAPD and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas to discuss their concerns. They have not decided whether to attempt another "liberation."

Photo by Maegan Ortiz from VivirLatino.

With contributions by Hayley Fox

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