LOS ANGELES — A South Los Angeles pastor was arrested this week outside the home of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on suspicion of felony stalking after several days of demonstrating on the Windsor Square block.
Bail was set for Sherman Manning, who leads the Yes We Can! Worship Center, at $150,000, according to Los Angeles Police Department arrest records. As of Thursday afternoon, he had not been charged, according to the district attorney’s office.
Manning said that for several days he had been walking up and down the block outside the Windsor Square residence, calling for urgent action to house homeless people on skid row during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In one video broadcast on Facebook, Manning said, “The homeless have no place in which to shelter — and they have been left for dead.” He said he wants the mayor to commandeer hotels and the convention center to house people. At one point, Manning said that three homeless people from skid row had joined him and slept outside on the Windsor Square block.
Manning said he was “absolutely not” doing anything to harass before his arrest. One video recorded before he was arrested Tuesday shows a woman accompanied by police officers outside the Garcetti residence, complaining that Manning was terrorizing her daughter and mentioning that he was convicted of rape.
“Leave my house!” she shouted.
The pastor replied that he had been convicted and spent decades in prison, but said that regardless, “You don’t think I have a right to peaceably assemble right here?” In a later interview, Manning said he had been wrongfully convicted.
Attorney John Isen, who sits on the advisory board for the Yes We Can! Worship Center and bailed Manning out of jail, argued that Garcetti was “finding ways to suppress the First Amendment rights to free speech.”
A Garcetti spokesman referred the Los Angeles Times to the LAPD for comment. LAPD Public Information Officer Joshua Rubenstein said that because of the nature of the alleged crime, the department could not provide further information on the circumstances leading up to the Tuesday arrest.
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