Los Angeles law enforcement used UCLA’s Jackie Robinson Stadium, named for Major League Baseball’s first African American player, to temporarily house people who had been detained during protests and demonstrations Tuesday night.
“We’re troubled by accounts of Jackie Robinson stadium being used as a ‘field jail,'” the university said on Twitter. “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.”
The Los Angeles Police Department acknowledged using the field in West L.A. for suspects arrested during the city’s George Floyd protests. “We are no longer using it,” Officer Mike Lopez said.
It was not clear how many people were held at the field or for how long.
The matter was amplified on Twitter by UCLA urban planning professor Ananya Roy, who posted a letter to the university leaders that she co-signed with 16 other UCLA faculty members.
“Last evening, UCLA students were arrested for engaging in the constitutionally protected right to peacefully protest against racial injustice, which is pervasive in American policing,” it reads. “They were detained and processed at a stadium on their own campus named after Jackie Robinson, an icon of the long and unfinished struggle for Black freedom.”
The letter indicates detainees were brought to the stadium on Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department prisoner buses but that they were apparently arrested by the LAPD.
As of Tuesday morning, the LAPD had arrested more than 2,700 people, and it was clear from imagery from scenes in Hollywood and downtown that many more were detained by late night. The department said it would not have total arrest numbers for the day until Wednesday.
Some in the city are calling for the police chief to resign after comments he made earlier in the week that equated looters to the Minneapolis officers involved in the death of George Floyd.
“His death is on their hands, as much as it is on those officers,” Chief Michel Moore said Monday. He has since walked back the statement.
Moore later clarified via Twitter, saying the officer who pushed his knee into Floyd’s neck and others who stood by were to blame, but “those intent on spewing mayhem and distraction into our communities are a disgrace to his memory.”
The mayor has stood by Moore. “The responsibility for George Floyd’s death rests solely with the police officers involved. Chief Moore regrets the words he chose this evening and has clarified them,” Mayor Eric Garcetti has said.
The UCLA baseball field, home of its men’s team, is leased and occupies federal Veterans Affairs land. It’s not clear what exactly the lease allows or disallows the city to do. The V.A. land is on an island of unincorporated Los Angeles County that is not in the city’s jurisdiction.