Authorities Wednesday said a task force formed to investigate crimes that occurred during protests and demonstrations in May and June has made a total of 14 arrests.
Demonstrations and other activities broke out across the nation and the Southland in May. They were sparked by the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, but as they continued through June the focus widened to target systemic racism and police brutality in general.
The SAFE LA Task Force, which was created on June 2, includes several local and federal fire and law enforcement agencies.
One person was arrested for alleged attempted murder on an officer, one for alleged assault on an officer, four for alleged arson, seven for alleged burglary and looting, and one for allegedly receiving stolen property, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, which was investigating 149 cases, 42 of which have now been closed.
Police released details of three arrests which they classified as “significant.”
Gabriel Estrada was arrested at a downtown Los Angeles protest on June 3 on suspicion of attempted murder on an LAPD Pacific Division officer on May 31 near the intersection of Lincoln Boulevard and Rose Avenue in Venice, according to police, who said they recovered a firearm from Estrada.
Jorge Cruz was arrested on suspicion of arson on a police vehicle, looting, possessing an assault weapon and narcotics, according to the LAPD, which identified the suspect through a tip. A search warrant was executed and authorities allegedly found a short barreled AK-style assault rifle, 3.5 pounds of methamphetamine, 15 pounds of marijuana, hundreds of marijuana edibles and about $20,000 in cash.
Mario Alvarado was arrested on suspicion of committing arson at Pizzeria Mozza, located at 6610 Melrose Ave., the LAPD said. He was identified through a tip, and further details were not released.
The task force has been investigating 149 cases, which they say had a total of 267 victims. They’re also investigating 176 alleged assaults on officers, which they say includes five attempted murders, 152 assault with a deadly weapons, 15 batteries, and four “interfering” cases.
The task force has also been investigating 94 “additional related crimes,” which include one assault with a deadly weapon on a citizen, five structure arson cases and seven police car arson cases, 25 burglary and looting cases, two robberies and 54 vandalism cases.
“Many of these arrests are the results of tips and leads and our community stepping forward — including demonstrators, people who were rightfully and lawfully in our streets and witnessing acts of arson, attacks against police officers, attacks to other protesters, burglary, and other crimes,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore said.
“… The Los Angeles Police Department today is proud to announce these arrests as a means of supporting lawful demonstration, of ensuring the First Amendment rights of everyone are protected,” he added.
Officials said rewards of up to $10,000 are in effect for information that helps solve these crimes.