More than a dozen to be charged in Westlake unrest, police say

September 14, 2010
Los Angeles city prosecutors said Monday that they expect to charge more than a dozen people in the series of street protests in the Westlake district last week after a police shooting of a Guatemalan immigrant.

Prosecutors are reviewing evidence presented by the Los Angeles Police Department against people accused of attacking officers or refusing to follow law enforcement orders during the protests, said Junior Baits-Romero, a spokesman for the city attorney’s office.

Officials are looking at police reports, news video footage and witness accounts in building the cases.

Also on Monday, prosecutors charged a Los Angeles man with four counts of assault in connection with slingshot attacks on two officers during one of the protests.

The criminal complaint alleges that Daniel Cortez, 24, used a slingshot to “hurl semi-round-shaped projectiles” at LAPD Lt. Juan Gonzalez and Sgt. Daniel Horan.

Cortez, who was charged with two counts of assault on a police officer and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, is being held in lieu of $26,000 bail. If convicted on all counts, he faces the possibility of one year in jail and a $10,000 fine.

City prosecutors said a preliminary investigation has found that Cortez did not have a criminal record and was not associated with groups the LAPD described as “agitators,” who officials said fueled violence in the aftermath of the Sept. 5 fatal shooting of Manuel Jamines, 37.

Authorities allege that Cortez was one of about 300 people who gathered Wednesday at 6th Street and Union Avenue to protest the death of Jamines, who also used the names Manuel Ramirez and Gregorio Luis Perez, according to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office. Jamines was fatally shot after brandishing a knife an lunging at officers, police said.

The shooting sparked several days of protests nearby. The largest took place Sept. 7, when 300 protesters gathered at the LAPD’s Rampart Station, some hurling eggs at police cars and others throwing objects at station windows.

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