Protesters fueled by the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis returned to Southland streets again Tuesday, staging another massive march in Hollywood while also taking their message to Venice and downtown Los Angeles.
As of early Tuesday evening, there were no major reports of violence or looting, which has marred demonstrations over the past several days.
Tuesday’s protests got an early start as about 150 people marched peacefully through the streets of Venice, walking past trendy stores and restaurants that were boarded up in hopes of thwarting looters. The sheriff’s department set up barricades blocking access roads into the adjacent Marina del Rey area.
A short time later, a group organized by the Baptist Ministers Conference of Southern California and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference gathered outside Los Angeles Police Department headquarters downtown, then moved outside nearby City Hall.
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. Mayor Eric Garcetti also joined the group, also taking a knee an expressing support for their movement.
“A black face should not be a sentence to die, nor to be homeless, nor to be sick, nor to be under-employed, nor to be under-educated,” he said. “We need a country that listens.”
Garcetti then invited leaders of the demonstration to come inside City Hall for a discussion about the issues, “not about words.”
“Because this is not just about words,” he said. “This is about what we do as a nation and a city at this moment.”
Another major demonstration began at noon in Hollywood, organized by Southland high school students and promoted by rapper YG. That gathering quickly attracted thousands of marchers and it continued throughout the afternoon. The crowd eventually fractured into smaller groups, with the bulk of the crowd marching to join other demonstrators downtown.
Another group moved south to Hancock Park and staged a vigil in front of Garcetti’s official residence. That gathering also remained peaceful.
Beverly Hills police also reported a peaceful protest just before midday on Santa Monica Boulevard near Canon Drive, while other demonstrations were held in cities including Manhattan Beach, Costa Mesa and Yorba Linda.
Meanwhile, members of Black Lives Matter spoke out in force during a videoconference meeting of the Los Angeles 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.”
Tuesday’s gatherings began hours 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 Monday night.
Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore told the Police Commission that 2,700 arrests had been made since the protests began last week, the vast majority of them for violating curfew. About 10% of the arrests were for looting. He also said more than 60 LAPD vehicles had been damaged during protests, including some that were burned.
NBC News reported that the LAPD’s 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.
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.
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 imposed another countywide curfew at 6 p.m., continuing until 6 a.m. Wednesday. It was the third straight night of a countywide curfew. Los Angeles and Long Beach also issued curfews for the same hours.
Santa Monica imposed a citywide curfew beginning at 2 p.m. Tuesday, while Beverly Hills instituted a curfew at 1 p.m. Culver City imposed a curfew at 4 p.m. All of those curfews will remain in place until 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday sent a letter to the city and county of Los Angeles, claiming the curfew orders exceed their authority and represent a violation of First Amendment rights to free speech.
“… A community’s right to protest day or night may not be infringed merely because some people have acted unlawfully in certain areas of the county,” according to the ACLU letter.
Garcetti on Tuesday night defended the curfews.
“I need to protect all Angelenos,” he said. “I need to protect protesters. I need to protect our police officers. And we saw dangerous, dangerous situations that almost resulted in death, and I won’t let that happen.”
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