Deputies in Lakewood used pepper ball rounds and smoke Friday to break up a protest the city’s mayor said started out peaceful but “ended in a very ugly way.”
The events began about 1 p.m. when a group of roughly 500 protesters walked to Lakewood City Hall from Long Beach City College, Lakewood Mayor Todd Rogers posted on his Facebook page.
“The crowd was peaceful and there were several positive interactions between protesters and on scene deputies,” Rogers stated.
Rogers, who said he wasn’t actually at the event due to a critical family matter, said the streets had been closed for the march but were reopened about 3 p.m. after the protesters left city hall.
Roughly 30 minutes later, Rogers said about 100 protesters walked back into streets and were given a dispersal order that was not headed.
Some of the protesters were “displaying overtly threatening behavior,” Rogers said.
Deputies deployed pepper ball rounds and inert smoke after Rogers says a protester threw a large piece of metal at deputies and others attempted to arm themselves with other projectiles.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department later identified the metal object as a piece of broken brake rotor in a news release.
“I’m sorry to report that an otherwise peaceful and, even cordial protest, ended in a very ugly way,” Rogers posted following the incident.
Some people commenting on the mayor’s tweet stated there were many videos posted of the protest and they did not see any metal object being thrown at deputies.
One video, recorded by @longway2theguap and shared with KTLA, shows deputies walking toward fleeing protesters as smoke rises from the crowd.
One person was arrested on suspicion of Resisting an Executive Officer and Failure to Disperse at the Scene of a Riot, the sheriff’s department stated.
The sheriff’s department also confirmed that smoke was deployed to disperse the crowd but that tear gas was not used.
The demonstration came amid the second week of nationwide protests against police violence following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.