LOS ANGELES – A California man was arrested for attempted murder of a police officer after he reportedly attacked law enforcement personnel with a “makeshift flamethrower” during a protest of the SCOTUS abortion reversal. A woman was also taken into custody after she tried to take an officer’s baton, police said.
Michael Ortiz, 30, and Juliana Bernado, 23, were among those arrested during a clash with police officers in downtown Los Angeles on Friday after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said.
Authorities said as the protests stretched into the night, members of the crowd began “throwing fireworks and other makeshift weapons” at the officers, KTLA reported.
LAPD said Ortiz attacked an officer with a “makeshift flamethrower” designed from a torch, sending the officer to the hospital with burn injuries.
At some point in the night, Bernado reportedly tried to take an officer’s baton. She was struck by a 40mm “less lethal round” which helped police take her into custody, according to KTLA.
Bernardo was booked into jail and faces possible charges for resisting arrest, police said.
Ortiz was booked into jail for the attempted murder of a police officer. His bail was set at $1 million, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department inmate roster.
“I condemn the violence against officers that occurred last night and into today,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore said in a news release.
“Individuals participating in such criminal activity are not exercising their 1st Amendment rights in protest of the Supreme Court decision, rather, they are acting as criminals,” he added. “The Department will vigorously pursue prosecution of these individuals.”
I’m grateful today’s events were largely peaceful. Unfortunately some chose to enter the freeway posing a serious risk. Later a much smaller group fired pyrotechnics at officers. Our people strived to facilitate demonstrations while defending our people from dangerous assaults.
— Chief Michel Moore (@LAPDChiefMoore) June 25, 2022
The LAPD said it encourages its citizens to peaceably assemble to protest and welcomes political demonstrations, Fox News Digital reported.
“The Los Angeles Police Department has the distinction of facilitating First Amendment Rights for all Angelenos. Equally, the Department will enforce the law when individuals engage in violence. Those who expressed themselves peacefully today are appreciated and recognized by the Los Angeles Police Department,” LAPD said.