Protesters in downtown Los Angeles
Protesters in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday night. Courtesy OnScene.TV

A second day of protests in downtown Los Angeles against police brutality took place on a smaller scale, with no arrests reported Friday morning.

A small group, some shouting expletives directed at police, gathered outside the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters Thursday afternoon and evening to peacefully chant “we want justice” and “black lives matter.”

Some of the demonstrators surrounded a California Highway Patrol vehicle, and at least one kicked the cruiser, but the car drove off without visible damage.

Another handful of protesters threw water bottles and a skateboard at a law enforcement vehicle near the headquarters. That car also sped off seemingly without sustaining damage.

Protesters briefly blocked traffic at Third Street and Grand Avenue, but the intersection remained closed after they returned to the sidewalk.

Demonstrators returned to the streets to demand justice for George Floyd, who died Monday after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by a white Minneapolis Police Department officer who pressed his knee on the 46-year-old man’s neck for several minutes while three other officers looked on.

Video footage of the arrest, in which Floyd is heard saying “I can’t breathe,” spread widely online, and all four officers were fired.

Protests that erupted across South Minneapolis on Wednesday and Thursday led authorities to declare a state of emergency in Minneapolis, St. Paul and surrounding communities, where protesters set fire to buildings, including Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct Thursday evening, and police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at crowds.

In response to the video of officers kneeling on Floyd’s neck, the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union representing the department’s rank-and-file officers, said in a statement, “What we saw on that video was inconsistent and contrary to everything we have been taught, not just as an academy recruit or a police officer, but as human beings. Reverence for life in every incident a police officer encounters must be the floor and not the ceiling.”

Long Beach Police Department Chief Robert G. Luna said in a statement released Thursday that he was “shocked and saddened to learn of the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier this week.”

“The actions of these officers are directly in conflict with the oath we have taken to protect and serve, and also violate the public trust that we have worked so hard to build in our communities,” Luna said.

Fatal shootings by both the Los Angeles and Long Beach police departments were mentioned by the Los Angeles Black Lives Matter chapter in a Twitter post shortly before Wednesday’s protest to remind followers of black men who were killed at the hands of law enforcement in Los Angeles County.

The Culver City Police Department issued a statement saying its force “shares in the public’s disappointment and outrage regarding the disturbing circumstances surrounding the death of George Floyd.”

“The women and men of the CCPD continually strive to not only provide the highest level of public safety to our community, but to do so in a manner that is compassionate, professional, and is reflective of the diverse community we serve,” the statement says.

“Any lack of compassion or abuse of authority doesn’t just tarnish our badge; it tears at the very fabric of law enforcement and community relations.”

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said Wednesday night that “the actions I watched in the video were incredibly disturbing and go against the basic law enforcement principle of preservation of life.”

“Knowing that we have experienced our own high-profile incidents here in Los Angeles, I can assure you the LAPD strives each day to build trust and these events are sobering reminders of how quickly that can be lost,” he said.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva also spoke out Wednesday night.

“I share in the nation’s outrage over the tragic death of George Floyd. Police brutality is unacceptable under any circumstances, and in order to gain the public’s trust, we have to respect the very rule of law, we are sworn to uphold,” Villanueva said.

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