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Video emerges of armed police sweep in El Cajon for 'unlawful assembly'

Large line of armed defense as El Cajon police officers prepare to advance upon a group of peaceful protesters.
Photo credit:
Jeff Pro - Facebook

A Facebook user named Jeff Pro used the social media’s “live” feature to record a protest in El Cajon on Oct. 3, in opposition to the police killing of Alfred Olango on Sept. 27.

As a small group of protesters gathered to hold a candlelight vigil, law officials told them they were performing an unlawful assembly, and held them at bay with a large tactical brigade.

As Pro kept his camera rolling, elected leaders of the group approached the defensive line of officers and tried to convey that they were there for peaceful purposes.

“There’s a very small group here,” said one speaker for the small gathering to police. “A lot of it is family from out of town and close friends having a chance to get together and grieve.”

The officer in response to the speaker’s request says that the group is just too large to allow them to continue, fearing the group would grow in numbers.

According to California Penal Code, an unlawful assembly is broadly defined as:

“(Penal Code 407) Whenever two or more persons assemble together to do an unlawful act, or do a lawful act in a violent, boisterous, or tumultuous manner, such assembly is an unlawful assembly.”

“(Penal Code 408) Every person who participates in any rout or unlawful assembly is guilty of a misdemeanor.”

The above actions could lead to an arrest and a misdemeanor charge, but in order to do so the accused would have to "(a) willingly participate in the unlawful assembly (in other words, do so on purpose) and (b) do so knowing that it is unlawful. 2"

These definitions might imply that law enforcement could deem anything as an unlawful assembly, forgoing rights to the First Amendment, however the Supreme Court narrowed the terms to include:

"assemblies which are violent or which pose a clear and present danger of imminent violence."4

However, throughout the video it seems the protesters are not there to cause trouble.

In Pro’s live stream you see candles, prayer circles and tents erected with signs reading “Black Lives Matter.”  

After the protesters refuse to leave, the large shield wall of law enforcement officers advance toward the group with guns drawn, and begin making arrests for their failure to disperse. 

Pro’s video has gone viral, receiving over 6k views.

You can view the 32-minute (NSFW - language) video HERE.