INGLEWOOD, CA — Around 9am this morning, youth from South Central LA, Watts, Inglewood, and Compton liberated the LA City Library’s Hyde Park branch on Crenshaw and 66th. The library has been vacant since 2004 and is located in one of LA County’s poorest neighborhoods, not far from one of the major flash points of the Rodney King riots.
The action was intended to keep the building open to provide programming and services to the community, including free food, employment and health workshops, and classes for high school students who have been through the criminal justice system or are at risk.
LAPD officers arrived within an hour–apparently alarmed that young people of color were trying to enter a library–and immediately shut the outside gates, trapping about half of the youth and supporters, including media and legal observers, on the property. Police closed nearby streets and had arrest vans and a helicopter on the scene. The youth participating in the action were threatened with arrest for trespassing and $5000 bail; they were eventually able to leave the site without arrest.
Following the eviction, the city–which can never seem to find resources to provide for the basic needs of the community–constructed an 8-foot tall fence around the library and parking lot to make sure that it was even more difficult for the community to access the space.