For a year and a half, protesters on both the left and the right have targeted public officials at their homes in Los Angeles, demonstrating at all hours to express their grievances against mask mandates, rental evictions and more.
Now, City Council President Nury Martinez is seeking to tighten the rules around such protests. The councilwoman introduced an emergency motion Tuesday that would bar protests within 300 feet of a target’s home.
There is “an urgent need to protect the elected officials and their staff from threatened intimidation at the residences,” Martinez’s motion says. The proposal is scheduled to be voted on later at Tuesday’s meeting.
The proposal instructs city attorneys to draft a law modeled after one in San Jose. Martinez’s motion notes that the San Jose ordinance has survived legal challenges.
L.A. has an existing law prohibiting “targeted demonstrations” within 100 feet of a private residence. The law does not ban “peaceful picketing or distributing pamphlets, going door-to-door, alone or in groups, in residential neighborhoods.”
Martinez herself has been targeted for months by protesters. On Sunday night, a group opposed to COVID-19 vaccination mandates banged on her door and harassed her neighbors, she said. The incident occurred hours after a large rally by groups opposed to vaccine mandates on Sunday.
Hours after an anti-vaccination rally in Santa Monica, protesters targeted the homes of Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez and City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell.
At one point during Sunday’s rally, a man held up a sign that he said showed the home address of each City Council member, according to video posted on social media. If the City Council voted for a vaccine mandate, protesters would visit their homes, the man said, according to the video.
“Whoever votes yes, we’re coming to your door,” the man said, according to the video. “We’re coming to your home. You want to intimidate us? We’re coming to you now.”
At another point, he said that if a proposed vaccine mandates passes, “civil war is coming, get your guns.”
Martinez’s motion mentions the man’s actions and words and states that the “threat of intimidation and violence has suddenly become more concrete and imminent.”
Activists have shown up as early as 7 a.m. outside the homes of City Council members, while other groups have brought mariachis to Getty House, the official residence of L.A.’s mayor. And demonstrators have publicly circulated public officials’ home addresses.
Vaccine and mask opponents have also shown up at the homes of health officials, including the home of Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County’s director of public health.
Times staff writer Emily Alpert Reyes contributed to this report.