‘Peaceful protesters are being drowned out’: Van Nuys residents concerned as neighborhood sees day of looting, car chase and fire

Local News

Some Van Nuys residents expressed concern Tuesday morning after looting, a police pursuit and a strip mall fire followed hours of peaceful protests against police violence on Monday.

“The peaceful protesters are being drowned out,” said local Mikki Pettit. “It’s not right. I live in a diverse neighborhood. … This is just so distressing.”

The demonstration, one of many that ignited across the U.S. after the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, began peacefully in front of the Van Nuys City Hall and continued without incident for hours.

Many held signs as they marched and chanted, “No justice, no peace.”

But around 4 p.m., a pharmacy had been broken into in the area of Victory and Van Nuys boulevards. Aerial video showed at least a dozen people rushing inside the business and quickly leaving.

Police descended on the scene.

Then, at around 7:30 p.m., after the 6 p.m. citywide curfew went into effect, officers were seen chasing a white sedan that appeared to have a stolen television hanging out of a back door near Sherman Way and Woodman Avenue.

The driver traveled about 70 mph on surface streets before pulling into a parking lot. Two people fled from the vehicle and were soon detained, video showed.

Then just before 8 p.m., in the 7100 block of Van Nuys Boulevard, officers detained a number of people at the parking lot of a Walgreens that had been broken into.

Many of them had hammers, according to LAPD.

Around the same time, the Los Angeles Fire Department “found” a fire at a strip mall that had been looted in the 15700 block of Vanowen Street.

There had been a report of a shooting at the scene, but the Fire Department did not find any patients or suspects.

The blaze damaged at least three units before crews managed to extinguish the flames, according to LAFD.

Some 71 firefighters worked to put out the fire. No injuries were reported.

On Tuesday morning, National Guard troops that had been deployed across the L.A. area in recent days remained in shopping areas in the San Fernando Valley.

Amid criticism of use of police force during rallies, including rubber bullets, authorities have asserted that they respect the public’s right to protest. However, officials are condemning looters they say have nothing to do with the demonstrations demanding justice.

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