UCLA Issues Cease and Desist on Jackie Robinson Stadium's Use for 'Field Jail'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 3, 2020

UCLA players take batting practice at Jackie Robinson Stadium before their NCAA college baseball tournament regional game against Maryland in Los Angeles, Monday June 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Jayne Kamin-Oncea)
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Associated Press

UCLA released a statement Wednesday in which it condemned local police using its Jackie Robinson Stadium as a "field jail" to hold those detained during Tuesday's protests regarding police brutality and racial injustice:

According to Dennis Romero of NBC News, the Los Angeles Police Department acknowledged the fact that it used Jackie Robinson Stadium for that purpose, but Officer Mike Lopez said they were "no longer" using it.

As of Tuesday morning, the LAPD had arrested more than 2,700 in relation to protests taking place after George Floyd was killed May 25 while in Minneapolis police custody. Officer Derek Chauvin was shown on video pinning Floyd to the ground facedown with his knee across Floyd's back and neck for almost nine minutes, and he refused to release him despite Floyd saying on multiple occasions that he couldn't breathe.

Chauvin was one of four officers responding to an alleged forgery at the scene who were subsequently fired, and he was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter Friday. None of the other officers present have been charged.

In the wake of Floyd's death, there have been protests against police brutality and racial inequality in major cities across the country. That has also led to looting in some cities, including L.A.

UCLA urban planning professor Ananya Roy drew attention to the fact that people were being held at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Tuesday. In a tweet, Roy said people were arrested for violating curfew, loaded onto L.A. County Sheriff's Department prison buses and brought to UCLA's home baseball stadium.

Per Romero, Jackie Robinson Stadium is leased and occupies federal Veterans Affairs land, so there is some gray area regarding what the city's rights were with regard to using it as a field jail.

The venue has been home to the UCLA men's baseball team since 1981, and it is named after former UCLA great Jackie Robinson.

Robinson went on to break the MLB color barrier in 1947 when he appeared in a game for the Brooklyn Dodgers, making him the first black player in MLB history.

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