2,100-plus arrested so far in Los Angeles County while protests rage
At least 2,100 people were arrested in three L.A. County cities over the weekend that saw peaceful protests but also vandalism and looting.
Most of the arrests were in Los Angeles, with Officer Rosario Cervantes, a Police Department spokeswoman, saying her agency arrested an estimated 700 people during the civil unrest alone on Sunday. In the two days prior, officers arrested 931.
The arrests were for a variety of allegations, including burglary, looting, battery on a police officer, failure to disperse and violating curfew. Some were arrested on probation violations.
At least one was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
The protests turned violent Saturday and Sunday, hitting hard the Fairfax District, downtown Los Angeles and the cities of Long Beach and Santa Monica. City leaders spoke during a Monday press conference about shop owners coming back to burned out buildings in tears.
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore, who apologized to business owners in the city affected by looting and rioting, said 88 buildings on Melrose Avenue were lost.
Some 2,000 National Guard troops, he said, would be deployed to the city by Tuesday, June 2.
On Sunday, L.A. County ordered people to go home starting at 6 p.m., though they only gave residents about two hours to do so when the countywide curfew was issued.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said those who rioted en masse did so during the COVID-19 pandemic, which could spike the number of coronavirus cases in the next few weeks in the county.
He said sheriff deputies, LAPD officers and the National Guard troops will allow non-violent marches but at the same time they are working to keep residents safe. The county has established a state of emergency and has called for another curfew Monday evening.
“The rule of law is present throughout Los Angeles County,” the sheriff said. “We will assure everyone can assembly peacefully and businesses can be open again, and those business owners can put food on the table.”
Around 400 people were arrested duiring civil arrest in Santa Monica alone Sunday – a big number compared against the Police Department’s number of sworn officers, 233.
The city had requested aid from nearby police agencies before a peaceful march along the city’s iconic Ocean Avenue.
And then, nearby, dozens of looters smashed windows and fled with handfuls of shoes, jewelry, surfboards and liquor bottles. Police scattered protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets.
In Long Beach, the mayor said 73 people were arrested on Sunday for crimes such as vandalism, looting, and curfew violations.
Police said the protest there, attended by thousands, was largely peaceful. But there were outbreaks in crime, with some protesters telling the suspects to stop.