With overnight curfews lifted, protesters decrying the death of George Floyd following his arrest by Minneapolis police marched peacefully through the streets of Venice early Tuesday, beginning what will likely be another day of heightened law-enforcement tensions across the Southland.
The marchers, about 150 strong, chanted as they walked on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Main Street and Lincoln Boulevard, ultimately converging at Abbot Kinney and Venice Boulevard. Police kept watch on the march, which passed by multiple businesses on trendy Abbot Kinney that were boarded up in an effort to thwart looters.
As of mid-morning, however, there were no reports of any looting or disruptions associated with the march. The sheriff’s department set up barricades blocking access roads into the adjacent Marina del Rey area.
The procession began shortly after a countywide curfew was lifted at 6 a.m., and hours after hundreds of arrests were made in Hollywood, Westwood and the San Fernando Valley, mostly for people ignoring the county and city curfews as they continued protesting.
Los Angeles Police Department officials said arrest totals from Monday were still being tabulated, but Chief Michel Moore told the city Police Commission that 2,700 arrests had been made since the protests began last week. NBC News reported that the Hollywood Division alone made a single-day record 585 arrests Monday night, including 20 for looting, and impounded 50 vehicles. The rest of the arrests were largely for curfew violations.
Several dozen members of the Baptist Ministers Conference of Southern California and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference gathered for a demonstration mid-morning Tuesday just outside LAPD headquarters downtown, while the city Police Commission held a meeting via teleconference. Several police officers were seen mingling with the demonstrators, shaking hands and taking photos, and a line of officers even dropped to a knee with the group as a sign of solidarity.
Another major demonstration is scheduled for noon Tuesday in Hollywood, organized by Southland high school students. That march is scheduled to begin at Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. Beverly Hills police reported a peaceful protest just before midday on Santa Monica Boulevard near Canon Drive.
Members of Black Lives Matter were also speaking out in force during the Police Commission, noting that while Floyd’s death in Minneapolis has been a rallying cry for protests nationally, local actions are also aimed at the LAPD, which the group has dubbed “the most murderous police department in the country.”
Multiple rallies occurred in the Hollywood area Monday, with thousands of people eventually converging to march in a circular pattern along Hollywood and Sunset boulevards. At the front of the pack, marchers carried a banner with the words, “Say their names,” in reference to victims of police shootings.
While many in the crowd eventually dispersed, others opted to ignore curfew orders and were eventually arrested en masse and loaded into buses.
But while the protests were largely peaceful, the demonstrations were again marred by bands of looters who smashed their way into various stores, often tossing stolen merchandise into waiting vehicles in an organized effort to capitalize on marches that were drawing the attention of police.
Looters were also active in Van Nuys, where a separate protest was held Monday and remained mostly peaceful until agitators began breaking into businesses.
Dozens of looters raided a Boost Mobile store, a marijuana dispensary and multiple pharmacies. Some people were arrested after allegedly ransacking a Walgreens at Van Nuys and Sherman Way, and police said many of them were armed with hammers.
The primary Van Nuys protest — and most other gatherings Monday afternoon — were conducted without violence. The crowd in Van Nuys occasionally spilled onto streets, until a discussion was held with officers on the scene and demonstrators moved back to sidewalks.
Some protesters in Westwood, where demonstrators briefly walked onto the San Diego (405) Freeway, were arrested outside Los Angeles County Club in Holmby Hills.
On the outskirts of West Hollywood, LAPD Cmdr. Cory Palka spoke to a crowd that had gathered outside the Laugh Factory comedy club, and he dropped to a knee in a sign of solidarity with the congregants, which cheered in response.
The demonstrators assured Palka they would disperse peacefully when the countywide curfew took effect at 6 p.m.
City and county authorities hailed the generally peaceful posture of the vast majority of people protesting the death of Floyd, and attributed the waves of destruction that occurred to “opportunists” taking advantage of demonstrations to loot and vandalize.
In Santa Monica, another 41 arrests were made Monday. The city was hard-hit on Sunday by protests, and city officials said there have been 347 reports of damage, along with 84 reports of graffiti and 292 reports of damage to businesses.
Burbank police said 14 arrests were made overnight, mostly on suspicion of looting, and officers recovered burglary tools and suspected stolen merchandise.
Los Angeles County will impose another countywide curfew at 6 p.m., continuing until 6 a.m. Wednesday.
Santa Monica will impose a citywide curfew beginning at 2 p.m. Tuesday, while Beverly Hills will institute a curfew at 1 p.m. Culver City will impose a curfew at 4 p.m. All of those curfews will remain in place until 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.
In both Santa Monica and Long Beach, volunteers and business owners gathered Monday morning to help clear broken glass from streets, clean graffiti and secure businesses, generally with plywood boards, following extensive damage done during Sunday’s protests.
Roughly 1,000 National Guard personnel were deployed to the area over the weekend after Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency Saturday for all of Los Angeles County. Troops have been deployed in front of Los Angeles City Hall, outside the Lakewood Center and were assigned to locations in Long Beach and Santa Monica.
At least 2,000 troops were expected in to be deployed in Los Angeles by Tuesday, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said.
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