L.A. County enacts 6 p.m. curfew as officers clash with civilians

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L.A. County update:

Los Angeles County officials announced a countywide curfew that goes into effect 6 p.m. Sunday and lasts until 6 a.m. Monday.

The proclamation came on the fourth day of anti-police brutality protests that have been marked by clashes between officers and civilians, as well as vandalism and looting of local businesses throughout Southern California — and in many cities elsewhere in the U.S.

Alerts about the new curfew went out to residents’ phones less than an hour before it was set to go into effect.

The sheriff said the county’s order supersedes all local curfews, and county officials said it applies to both unincorporated and incorporated areas of L.A. County.

“In the event the county curfew is more stringent than a resident’s local curfew order, the county curfew will supersede it.  In other words, if a resident’s local curfew order is 8:00 P.M., the 6:00 P.M. county curfew supersedes it; if the local order is 4:00 P.M., the local order still stands,” county officials said in an emergency alert.

The Los Angeles Police Department’s media relations office was not able to confirm a 6 p.m. curfew for the city of L.A., which earlier in the day had announced an 8 p.m. curfew. However, Mayor Eric Garcetti retweeted the county’s announcement of the curfew going into effect.

The city of Long Beach tweeted that its 8 p.m. curfew is still in place, despite the county’s order enacting an earlier curfew. “Long Beach & other cities have the authority to issue different curfew hours,” Long Beach officials said.

Santa Monica and Beverly Hills had both also issued a curfew for the cities that had already gone into effect at 4 p.m.

L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced the 6 p.m. curfew in a phone interview while live on KTLA shortly before 3:30 p.m.

“It’s a useful tool to separate the people who have a legitimate reason to be somewhere and the crowd who are there unlawfully protesting,” Villanueva said.

His staff were apparently largely unaware of the curfew plan. A spokesperson with the Sheriff’s Department media relations division told KTLA there had been a flood of calls after the sheriff’s announcement, but the division had no details about the parameters of the curfew and was awaiting details from “upstairs.”

The sheriff then tweeted out details about 4:40 p.m.

Those who don’t adhere to the county’s curfew order can face fines up to $1,000, up to six months in prison, or both, officials said.

The curfew doesn’t apply to peace officers, firefighters, members of the National Guard and other military personnel, as well as people traveling to and from work, those seeking medical treatment and the county’s homeless, the order states.

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L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti declared another citywide curfew effective 8 p.m. Sunday to 5:30 a.m. Monday.

The proclamation came as Southern California authorities braced for a fourth day of anti-police brutality protests marked by clashes between officers and civilians, as well as vandalism and looting of local businesses.

In a tweet, LAPD said “all residents must stay home, indoors and off the streets.”

Culver City, West Hollywood and Pasadena, which joined L.A. in proclaiming an overnight curfew on Saturday, also planned to impose the same restrictions on their residents for a second night in a row. Santa Monica has issued a curfew for the city as well, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Monday.

Beverly Hills, on the other hand, announced two sets of curfews that will be “strictly enforced”: 1 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Monday for the business district, and 4 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Monday for the entire city.

The business district encompasses the Business Triangle, which includes Rodeo Drive, South Beverly Drive and Robertson and La Cienega boulevards–areas that saw some damages Saturday.

Many people have been protesting peacefully in the L.A. area since Wednesday, some holding signs that read “Black Lives Matter” and “I can’t breathe”—words uttered by George Floyd as a Minneapolis police officer knelt on him Monday before he died.

But on Friday, some people began to break into stores and set fire to police vehicles in downtown L.A., prompting police to declare an unlawful assembly. LAPD said 533 people were arrested that night, mostly for failure to disperse. Nearly all of them were released by the morning.

The next day, the Fairfax District and the surrounding area saw a similar scene, with a police booth burned at The Grove and people climbing onto buildings and at least one commuter bus. At least one patrol car was set on fire.

LAPD declared an unlawful assembly in the Mid-Wilshire area in the afternoon before Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency in L.A. County and deployed National Guard troops.

Authorities said they requested 500 to 700 troops for the city and another 500 for the county overnight. Some of those troops were seen at damaged storefronts at around 7 a.m. Sunday.

Officials are still assessing the cost of property damages, but LAPD Chief Michel Moore estimated it to be in the “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

According to the department, around 398 people were arrested amid Saturday’s protests, with possible charges including burglary, looting, vandalism, failure to disperse, being a felon in possession of a gun and “numerous” curfew violations.

Protesters are thrown out of a Whole Foods Market in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles on May 30, 2020. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times)
Protesters are thrown out of a Whole Foods Market in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles on May 30, 2020. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times)

It’s unclear how many remain in custody Sunday.

Meanwhile, LAPD said five officers were hurt Saturday–two of them sent to the hospital with injuries ranging from contusions and broken bones to a fractured skull.

One was hit by a brick from a group of protesters, Moore said.

“He had surgery last night,” the chief said in a news conference Sunday. “I’m praying… I believe he will survive.”

L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva had expected the declaration of another overnight curfew for the city of Los Angeles following the chaotic scene in the Fairfax District.

Villanueva estimated the cost of damages to be in the millions.

The sheriff expressed disappointment in protest organizers.

“As a community, we have to come together, realize people hijack protests instead of protesting peacefully,” Villanueva said. “We’re trying to get out of the pandemic and all of the lives that were lost, jobs and businesses lost in the pandemic, and we’re just adding insult to injury with this wanton destruction. It’s sad.”

Patrisse Cullors, a cofounder of the Black Lives Matter movement, said Saturday’s protests began peacefully until officers arrived and began shooting rubber bullets.

“The thing that is most obvious is that people are grieving, they’re mourning, and they’re angry,” she told KTLA. “They’ve been angry for a very long time. I just watched the 1992 [L.A. riots] footage, and this idea that police brutality and police terror has ended in Los Angeles or any other cities is a false idea. And it’s unfortunate because many of our elected officials are not holding law enforcement accountable, so we just keep going through the same cycle.”

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