A large group of protesters decrying the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis demonstrated in several Los Angeles’ neighborhoods as police declared an unlawful assembly in the Mid-Wilshire area and the governor declared a state of emergency in L.A. County and dispatched National Guard troops to help keep order.
Saturday’s demonstration followed three days of protests in Los Angeles. A massive demonstration in downtown L.A. on Friday night resulted in hundreds of arrests.
Members of the California National Guard were to be deployed to L.A. overnight to help police maintain order, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti told KTLA. Between 500 and 700 troops were requested for the city, while another 500 were summoned for Los Angeles County.
“It will be a great force multiplier and help us secure and hold areas,” the mayor said. “But folks who are no longer peacefully protesting, and have not been: This is vandalism. This is destructive.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency in Los Angeles County and authorized the request for troops, his office said in a written statement.
The National Guard members will not be conducting law enforcement operations, Garcetti said. “They will hold areas of the city and make sure that they keep the peace there.”
After police cars were seen going up in flames in L.A.’s Fairfax District, and businesses were seen being vandalized and looted, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a curfew would be in effect in the downtown L.A. area from 8 p.m. Saturday to 5:30 a.m. Sunday. The curfew was expanded later in the afternoon to encompass the entire city.
Aerial footage from Sky5 showed people numerous LAPD vehicles on fire, as well as people looting businesses, including a shoe store, clothing stores and an Apple Store, and lighting fires in the street late Saturday afternoon.
A structure went up in flames at Melrose and Stanley avenues shortly after 9 p.m.
Information regarding any potential injuries suffered by officers on Saturday was not available.
Arrests on Saturday numbered in the hundreds, Garcetti said. Exact figures were not available.
The Los Angeles Police Department declared an unlawful assembly about 7 p.m. for the Mid-Wilshire/La Brea area. The affected area was between Melrose Avenue and 6th Street, as well as between La Brea Avenue and La Cienega Boulevard, police said in a written statement.
“Business should close. Those on the street are to leave the area immediately,” the statement said.
Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas said his department was busy all day, responding to more than 1,500 calls for service on Saturday.
He said he’d received reports of rocks and bottles being thrown at fire apparatus, and one engine had been vandalized with spray paint, no injuries to firefighters had been reported.
“Our destruction is nowhere near LAPD’s,” he said.
By 11 p.m., most of the protesters had left and police appeared to outnumber demonstrators.