Los Angeles’ top cop is vowing to arrest anti-vaccination protesters if they descend upon Dodger Stadium again — where jabs were briefly disrupted over the weekend.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday there would be “swift” consequences for future demonstrations at the stadium – one of the largest vaccination sites nationwide, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Saturday’s shutdown lasted about an hour after roughly 40 to 60 unmasked protesters with signs yelled unfounded claims that the vaccine is dangerous, the newspaper reported.
“Our action is to be immediate and swift in the sense of holding them accountable for that unlawful activity,” Moore told a group of police commissioners during a virtual meeting.
Moving forward, anti-vaxxers who insist on protesting will be confined in an area near the entrance of the stadium, where city officials said last month they hoped to administer 12,000 shots daily.
The move will allow demonstrators to exercise their First Amendment rights while also allowing permit health officials to keep doling out shots, Moore said.
“It’s my expectation and direction that … individuals will be arrested, they’ll be cited, and their actions will be caused to be ceased,” Moore continued.
“This going forward is a means of ensuring that the lines will stay open, that the vaccine sites will be unhindered.”
Fortunately, Los Angelenos who had appointments to get jabbed Saturday were still able to be vaccinated, Moore said.
Protesters outside Dodger Stadium caused the vaccination site to be shut down for roughly an hour. Los Angeles Times via Getty Imag
He also praised officers for ultimately getting the protesters to move along during the incident without arrests being made.
However, the city’s fire department shutting down the site for 55 minutes gave a poor impression to the public that the demonstrators accomplished their goal, the chief said.
“That imagery, in my view, did offer a chilling effect, or could have offered a chilling effect of intimidation or fright,” Moore said during Tuesday’s meeting.
A spokesman for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told the newspaper Saturday that no appointments were canceled as a result of the protest. No violence was reported and no arrests were made.
Moore went on to say that the fire department’s decision to shut down the site for 55 minutes gave a poor impression to the public.Los Angeles Times via Getty Imag
Some of the anti-vaxxers had walked between cars outside the stadium as people waited in line and held signs claiming the virus was a “scam,” photos taken by the Times show.
“Don’t be a lab rat,” one sign read.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted later Saturday that the site was “back up.”
“CA is working around the clock to provide life-saving vaccines to those on the frontlines of this pandemic,” Newsom said. “We will not be deterred or threatened.”
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