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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 May 2007, 01:35 GMT 02:35 UK
LA police admit riot 'mistakes'
By David Willis
BBC News, Los Angeles

Los Angeles police advance on May Day
Officers fired plastic bullets into crowds at the May Day protest
The head of the Los Angeles Police Department, William Bratton, has admitted that his officers made serious mistakes at the end of a May Day rally.

The admission came as Mr Bratton delivered a report on the immigration rally to the city's police commission.

Video footage of the clashes showed police beating unarmed demonstrators with batons and firing rubber bullets.

More than 40 demonstrators and journalists were injured as police dispersed crowds at the rally.

'Communication breakdown'

The immigration rally in the centre of Los Angeles had been peaceful until the clashes, which the police say were prompted by agitators throwing rocks and bottles at the police.

We can do better than that - we have done better than that
William Bratton
LAPD chief

News footage showed officers pushing a television camerawoman to the ground and shoving people who were walking away from officers.

Mr Bratton acknowledged early on that a breakdown in communication and command had led to the clashes and said that they had embarrassed the force.

"It was quite apparent ... it all broke down," he said.

The two highest ranking officers at the scene have since been reassigned and in his report to the police commission, which sets policy for the department, Mr Bratton blamed the clashes on failed planning and communication.

William Bratton
Mr Bratton said the clashes embarrassed the police force

The report called the incident an aberration.

"We can do better than that. We have done better than that," Mr Bratton said.

Meanwhile, the union which represents the LAPD's more than 9,000 officers has called for members of the unit involved in the melee and their commanding officers to attend training in crowd control.

Such training had been abandoned in an attempt to save money.

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