In anticipation of civil unrest during the 2020 General Elections, law enforcement has given warnings in Los Angeles, while businesses have boarded up their windows and closed for the day.
In a notice obtained by L.A. Weekly, LAPD asked all downtown L.A. businesses to close, as it read, “LAPD will be staged throughout downtown to respond to civil unrest and to protect property from vandalism.”
The notice also said that LAPD will have limited resources to respond to non-emergencies on Tuesday.
Days leading up to the November 3 Election Day, downtown L.A. began to board up as it did in the midst of the George Floyd protests. From grocery stores such as Pavillions on Melrose, to popular restaurants such as Guisados and Marni, Los Angeles prepares in the event that violence and vandalism occurs.
LAPD also announced a citywide “tactical alert,” which means they can immediately allow officers to work 12-hour shifts, they can defer an officer’s off day and recall off-duty officers, according to LAPD’s guidebook.
“The LAPD has declared a citywide tactical alert to ensure sufficient resources to address any incidents that may arise as a result of Election Day activities, but is not a result of any specific incident,” LAPD said in a statement, Tuesday. “The Department is committed to ensuring that adequate resources are available to ensure all Angelenos are able to safely vote without interference. The Department will continue to assess the needs to maintain a tactical alert based upon the needs and state of the City.”
With the possibility of demonstrations in mind, LAPD also amended city ordinance 55.07, prohibiting the use of laser pointers or laser-style devices while attending public demonstrations rallies, protests. The use of these items, as well as several other items such as aerosol spray, tear gas, mace, pepper spray or bear repellent, can result in a misdemeanor charge.
As was the case during the George Floyd demonstrations, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will be “in full force” as well and deputies will also be working 12-hour shifts.
“This election week, I want everyone to know that the Sheriff’s department is out in full force, all week long,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a pre-recorded video statement. “All week long, we’re going to be providing security, we’re going to be transporting the ballots from the precincts, to the registrar recorder in Norwalk… Respect everyone’s right to vote. Do not interfere with the voting process.”
California polls will be closing at 8 p.m., but those in line may still remain in line to cast their ballots. Follow along at LA Weekly for more Election Day coverage.