L.A. Weekly will update this post as the story develops.
Angelenos continued to rally Saturday afternoon in response to the death of George Floyd, following consecutive days of demonstrations — and at times clashes with police and property damage — throughout the city.
Protesters gathered at Pan Pacific Park at noon today, with another demonstration at 3 p.m. at Mariachi Plaza. As thousands protested in Central L.A., LAPD asked for additional help from the Sheriff’s Department, citing the vandalization of unmanned police cruisers and other unrest. Mayor Eric Garcetti would ultimately announce the deployment of National Guard members and a citywide one-night curfew.
Jennifer Gross, who attended the Fairfax rally, told the Weekly, “It was a beautiful day with many different people, friends, families, college students all gathering together to peacefully march and protest their frustrations with the continued violence against not only George Floyd, but Christian Cooper, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery, and on and on. The Aztecs drummers and dancers were out, people were chanting ‘No Justice, No Peace,’ ‘This Is What Democracy Looks Like.'”
“Suddenly, the police seemed to square off on 3rd Street, a few blocks west of Fairfax,” said Gross. “All of a sudden this protest march stopped and turned and the police started shooting rubber bullets in to the crowd. How did a police car suddenly go on fire? I have no idea, but when the police showed up — tensions built. Instead of being confrontational, it would have been nice to see the police protecting protesters to march in safety. When SWAT teams are sent in — what do the police think are going to happen? When they pull out their batons against motivated people — anger flairs.”
— patrisse cullors (@OsopePatrisse) May 30, 2020
Protests in downtown L.A. the previous day were mostly peaceful, though nightfall saw several acts of violence. The LAPD attempted to break up the crowd after declaring the rally an unlawful assembly.
Around 6 p.m., the protesters made several attempts to march toward Los Angeles freeways, but were blocked by cordons of LAPD officers.
A smaller group did split from the crowd and stop traffic on the 110 Southbound Freeway where they sat and even gathered around the few LAPD officers on the scene. As the group guided the officers toward the freeway’s center divider, the officers drew their weapons, but ultimately it did not escalate in that moment.
Meanwhile, on city streets a larger group of the protesters were a lot more vocal, with a couple getting in front of officers and yelling, while other protesters attempted to intervene and pull away the vocal protesters.
As the line of officers attempted to guide the marchers away from the freeway on-ramp, some of the marchers began smashing police cruiser windows, which led to a physical altercation between an LAPD officer and a protester. The two wrestled each other to the ground as protesters and the LAPD looked on. The officer was then ushered away from the scene.
As day turned to night, the mostly peaceful march turned into multiple physical altercations with LAPD. Trash cans burned while stores, such as the Target on 7th Street and Figueroa, were looted.
In response to these incidents in L.A. and Minneapolis, Target CEO Brian Cornell put out a statement saying:
“We are a community in pain. That pain is not unique to the Twin Cities — it extends across America. The murder of George Floyd has unleashed the pent-up pain of years, as have the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. We say their names and hold a too-long list of others in our hearts.”
Cornell continued by saying their displaced workers will still be receiving full pay and benefits.
Videos taken by protesters on site, then posted to social media, show fireworks being ignited in the streets and directed toward law enforcement. Others show less-lethal bullets being shot by LAPD as they moved forward into crowds.
— Mr. Kick (@Snostrebla) May 30, 2020
At least five officers were injured and hundreds of protesters arrested, according to the LAPD. Chief Michel Moore tweeted out Saturday, “This morning the sun came up on a Los Angeles that offered a new day. Last night was a dark reminder of the perils of a society in turmoil and how our people stand to support peaceful expression while being ready to protect the rights of all. I’m thankful for such people.”
This morning the sun came up on a Los Angeles that offered a new day.
Last night was a dark reminder of the perils of a society in turmoil and how our people stand to support peaceful expression while being ready to protect the rights of all.
I’m thankful for such people. pic.twitter.com/eELnTslRYh
— Chief Michel Moore (@LAPDChiefMoore) May 30, 2020