The Los Angeles Police Department has reportedly been using Jackie Robinson Stadium — the baseball field of UCLA — as a “field jail” for protesters arrested at demonstrations held in response to the death of George Floyd.
The school and its faculty don’t seem very happy about it.
UCLA announced late Tuesday night it was not aware of the LAPD’s use of the stadium to detain protesters, and that it would not grant permission to local agencies for similar requests in the future.
We’re troubled by accounts of Jackie Robinson stadium being used as a “field jail.” This was done without UCLA’s knowledge or permission. As lessee of the stadium, we informed local agencies that UCLA will NOT grant permission should there be a request like this in the future.— UCLA (@UCLA) June 3, 2020
The announcement came after a faculty outcry over reports of the stadium being used to detain protesters, which included UCLA students.
It was brought to our attention that last night LAPD used Jackie Robinson Stadium @UCLA to detain protesters. Read the faculty letter demanding a full account, immediate cessation of such use of UCLA facilities & concrete steps towards divestment: https://t.co/1rdHn78BBy pic.twitter.com/cC988C2Sc0— Ananya Roy (@ananyaUCLA) June 3, 2020
One Twitter user who claimed to be among those detained at the stadium described being held for hours without food, water or a bathroom.
The area around the stadium had previously been used by local government as a coronavirus testing area.
This development comes as the LAPD and many other police departments face an outcry over escalating conflicts with protesters and liberal use of equipment such as rubber bullets. LAPD chief Michel Moore has been in particular hot water over a comment claiming rioters are as responsible for Floyd’s death as the police officers who detained him and stepped on his neck.
Using Jackie Robinson Stadium as a jail is ironic in the worst way
It’s easy to see why a school would have problems with the use of a stadium named after the first black MLB player — a national civil rights symbol — to detain protesters demonstrating against the unjust killing of a black man.
Not only was Robinson arguably the most important athlete in American history, he was outspoken on several issues of race in a way that has been forgotten by some today.
Robinson went out of his way to harshly criticize racial bias and police brutality in the justice system when testifying before Congress, and wrote of bringing down oppressive police and their enablers and not being patient while seeking social change. All of those issues remain relevant today in the conversation sparked by the killing of George Floyd and so many other African Americans in police custody.
The idea of police officers using the stadium bearing Robinson’s name as a makeshift jail for protesters seeking the very things the man stood for is beyond insulting to his legacy.
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