As residents of Los Angeles, human rights organizers and representatives of organizations from around the globe, we demand:
1. That all charges against Deborah Burton be immediately dropped.
2. A thorough investigation and the rescinding of the faulty evidence
presented by Lt. Paulson which eventually led to the charges filed
against Deborah Burton, and 3. An end to the aggressive prosecution of human rights defenders.
Organizations across Los Angeles have come together to defend and
promote interconnected human rights in our communities. Human rights
violations occur on a daily basis. Protest has been at the core of all
struggles for Justice. Yet, the assault on political dissent and protest
remains an ongoing tactic of the powerful. The City of Los Angeles has a
long history of heavy-handedness and violence against people organizing
for basic human rights.
Lame-duck City Attorney Carmen
Trutanich's malicious prosecution of Deborah Burton--a downtown resident
--is part of an ongoing campaign to squash protest and political
dissent in Los Angeles.
Deborah Burton's Case:
longtime Los Angeles Communtiy Action Network (LACAN) member and
organizer, has been unjustly charged with three counts of assault for
alleged actions during a peaceful protest in April 2011. She was not
charged until August 2012, 14 months later, and public records show that
in the interim months LAPD and the Central City East Association (CCEA)
actively lobbied the City Attorney to criminally charge LA CAN members
involved in a monthly demonstration of the CCEA’s “Skid Row Walk.”
In one email in April 2011, CCEA associate-- Estela Lopez-- assures her
colleagues that the City Attorney informed her that “they would explore
all legal options to protect us and allow us to conduct our walk
without interference from LA CAN.” In another email sent on June 1, 2011
— the evening of the purported assault — Ms. Lopez confirms they were
able to complete their walk “as planned” and never mentions being
assaulted or injured by Debora or anyone else from LA CAN.. In a July
2011 email from LAPD’s Lieutenant Paulson, Ms. Lopez tells the City
Attorney that she needs information about the filing and documentation
of cases related to the public safety walk because “This is going to be
an ongoing problem until it gets too costly for them (LA CAN)..”
The case against Deborah Burton is nothing more than a conspiracy,
abuse of power, waste of precious resources and the continued targeting
of human rights organizers.