Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer Sunday evening encouraged people to peacefully protest George Floyd’s in-custody death, but vowed to prosecute those committing crimes, including looting and setting fires.
Spitzer a former police officer, said the overwhelming majority of the people who have taken to the streets since the Memorial Day death of Floyd in Minneapolis “are doing it peacefully and with respect.”
“You have the right to protest, but when those protest cross the line into criminality, it will not be tolerated in Orange County,” he said.
“As a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department, I watched the streets of Los Angeles burn during the 1992 riots,” Spitzer said. “Looting and rioting is not about justice. It is about opportunists who are corrupting a cause to steal, robbery crews who pile out of cars with lookouts timing their looting sprees in order to evade police.
“Business owners who were just getting ready to re-open after months of being closed due to a global pandemic are having to watch their dreams — and their livelihoods — reduced to shards of glass and twisted metal. This does not honor the memory of George Floyd; in fact, it desecrates his memory.”
Spitzer said he was “calling on every police chief and the sheriff to submit their looting and rioting cases to me for criminal prosecution as soon as possible. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office will prosecute every criminal act we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.”
Mayor Miguel Pulido announced a citywide curfew in Santa Ana after a night of violence and looting, in which about 250 to 300 people in Santa Ana protested into the early morning hours.
Protesters threw fireworks at officers, looted several stores and set “a couple of small fires,” according to Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna. He said “several” arrests” were made, and a sheriff’s deputy was injured and taken to a hospital for treatment.
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