Santa Monica begins cleanup after day of looting, fires; curfew in effect since 1:30 p.m.

Local news

Cleanup was underway Monday in Santa Monica after a day of protests over the death of George Floyd turned violent, resulting in fires and looting.

Shattered glass, hangers and boxes littered the sidewalks after looters took clothes, shoes and other merchandise from businesses in one of the hardest hit areas along Fourth Street and Arizona Avenue.

Business owners and volunteers showed up with brooms and dust pans Monday to clean up the mess.

“We are here today to clean up as one community. Piece by piece we will repair. We will rebuild. We are strong. We are resilient. We will get through this,” Santa Monica Councilman Terry O’Day said during a Monday morning news conference.

A citywide curfew went into effect at 1:30 p.m. Monday and would remain in place until 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Overnight, some business owners were seen carrying guns to protect their stores from looters they thought would return to the area despite Sunday night’s curfew.

Sunday began with a peaceful protest on Ocean Avenue.

Eventually, a group of protesters got into a standoff with police near the Santa Monica Pier. Police say some of the protestors began throwing rocks and smoke bombs at the officers.

The Police Department responded by bringing in armored vehicles but the looting and fires started a short time later.

Video showed looters using hammers and crowbars to break into businesses before running off with merchandise.

Looters rush away from police after picking through a store in downtown Santa Monica on May 31, 2020. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)
Looters rush away from police after picking through a store in downtown Santa Monica on May 31, 2020. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

In one Santa Monica neighborhood, video showed a crowd of people surrounding an Amazon delivery truck while others took packages out.

U.S. National Guard troops were sent to the area and provided “great support” by locking down City Hall and Santa Monica Pier, O’Day said Monday morning.

Once those locations were secure, the Santa Monica Police Department was able to restore order to the streets, he said.

At least nine fires — involving police vehicles and businesses — were also set amid the chaos.

Officials said more than 200 arrests were made as the destruction and looting went on for several hours. Santa Monica Police Chief Cynthia Renaud updated the number to over 400 arrests as of Monday morning.

The police department later stated that 95% of those arrested were not Santa Monica residents.

Authorities are searching through evidence Monday to identify others who they will attempt to catch, O’Day said. “There is a ton of video out there,” he said.

Anyone with videos or pictures of people committing crimes Sunday was asked to send them to info@santamonica.gov.

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