Los Angeles will “prepare for the worst” on the heels of incoming President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ inauguration ceremony, Wednesday.
Los Angeles city Mayor Eric Garcetti and L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva addressed the measures being taken in case civil unrest occurs, as it did at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
Sheriff Villanueva said they are not aware of any threats to Los Angeles County, but will still have detectives and desk personnel in uniform, ready to respond to any calls.
“I fully support the first amendment and the peaceful demonstrations, but we will not allow violent behavior to take afoot anywhere,” Sheriff Villanueva said at the House of Justice, Tuesday. “Many of you are wondering if there are credible threats here in Los Angeles County and the answer is no… but our mission is act is if there was one. We are prepared.”
LAPD Chief Michel Moore also has nearly 10,000 officers on standby in case they are needed, according to CBSLA.
Mayor Garcetti said that the attacks on the Capitol “emboldened armed groups,” which is why the city and county are on high alert. The mayor also echoed the Sheriff’s statement that there are no credible threats to Los Angeles and they do not expect violence to occur.
“The insurrection wasn’t an attack on congress… it was an assault on our democracy,” Mayor Garcetti said. “If you are planning violence here in Los Angeles, you will be stopped, you will be prosecuted and you will pay the price.”
Also taking precautions is the Los Angeles City Council, as council president Nury Martinez said that Wednesday’s council meeting would be canceled.
The FBI’s Los Angeles division said it is aware of reports that protests may occur around government buildings around the country, but that it has had special agents, Intel analysts and communication from local agencies working together to identify any possible threats to Los Angeles.
Aside from the high alert in Los Angeles, the state of California has taken precautions with Gov. Gavin Newsom deploying 1,000 National Guard members to the state Capitol.
“In light of events in our nation’s capital last week, California is taking important steps to protect public safety at the State Capitol, and across the state,” Newsom said. “Our State Operations Center is actively working with federal, state and local law enforcement partners in assessing threats and sharing intelligence and information to ensure those disgraceful actions are not repeated here.”
Newsom added that there would be “no tolerance” for violence and that the events that occurred in the U.S. Capitol would not happen in California.
On a national level, 25,000 National Guard members from across the country have been deployed to Washington D.C., and L.A. Sheriff Villanueva added that 38 L.A. deputies would were sent to the nation’s capital, as well.
“While we have no intelligence indicating an insider threat, we are leaving no stone unturned in securing the capital,” Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller said in a statement. “The D.C. National Guard is also providing additional training to service members as they arrive in D.C. that if they see or hear something that is not appropriate, they should report it to their chain of command.”
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