Thousands of protesters gathered Tuesday evening outside of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s home as he addressed Angelenos and called for peace following several days of local demonstrations and a citywide curfew sparked by looting and violent protests.
“I hear you that this isn’t just about the criminal justice system. This is also about society and where we put out resources,” Garcetti said at an evening news conference away from the protests.
Garcetti said he has spent the last several days having conversations with elected officials, community leaders and young people who are “demanding that I, and we, collectively do better,” following the death of George Floyd.
On Tuesday evening, Garcetti shared his podium with Davion Pilgrim, a 16-year-old student from Morningside High School in Inglewood, who was recently stopped by police, and racially and criminally profiled.
“I was accused of being associated with a gang and that really hurt, because that’s not me,” Pilgrim, who is an athlete and “God-fearing,” said. “We want to make sure that what happened to George Floyd does not ever happen to someone who looks just like me.”
Garcetti said Los Angeles has two choices: hopelessness or hope.
“Tomorrow we have a choice to make. I have a choice to make. I choose to listen and move forward, and bring this city together to build peace on our streets and in our neighborhoods,” Garcetti said. “George Floyd died in our America so that we may make sense of our future to make sure that we never see that again.”
In an effort to keep the peace on the streets, a countywide curfew went into effect for the third day at 6 p.m. Tuesday through 6 a.m. Wednesday. Garcetti said the decision to extend the curfew is being made on a day-to-day basis.
“I need to protect all Angelenos. I need to protect protesters. I need to protect police officers,” Garcetti said. “My hope in my heart is that as soon as we don’t need that curfew we can get rid of it.”
The thousands of protesters who made their way to Garcetti’s house in Hancock Park remained until about 7:30 p.m., but many quietly dispersed. Earlier Tuesday, thousands of protesters peacefully gathered for several hours around Hollywood and in downtown Los Angeles.
“I’m proud of the protesters across the city, who are peacefully expressing themselves,” Garcetti, who also joined protesters outside of City Hall and took a knee, said. “I knew some people would be happy to see me, and others might be upset at this moment and need to yell at me. Both of those things happened.”
From 9:30 p.m., police were seen taking dozens of protesters who remained in the street into custody at the corner of Eighth Street and Lorraine Boulevard, a few blocks from the mayor’s residence.
Police continued arresting dozens of people and loading them onto at least four L.A. Sheriff’s Department buses until past 11 p.m. at 8th Street and Crenshaw Boulevard in Mid-Wilshire.
Garcetti said 1,000 National Guard troops were deployed in West Los Angeles, Central Los Angeles and downtown near protest hot spots to monitor the protesters crowds and protect businesses.