A peaceful protest that started out in Pan Pacific Park in Los Angeles on Saturday turned violent as protestors made their way from Fairfax Village to Beverly Hills. On May 30, thousands of protestors demanding justice following the death of George Floyd vandalized and set fire to numerous Los Angeles Police Department vehicles near the intersection of 3rd Street and Beverly Boulevard.
Around 3 p.m. local time, the LAPD declared the protest taking place on Fairfax Avenue an unlawful assembly as authorities fired rubber bullets and arrested protesters breaking the line. The smoke emanating from the police vehicles set ablaze could be seen from miles away.
Fairfax Village, home to CBS Television City, where shows like The Late, Late Show with James Corden and The Price Is Right are filmed, is an affluent neighborhood adjacent to West Hollywood. Police were seen using brute force with batons to hold the line. Signs held by protesters read “Black Lives Matter” and “Disarm and Defund Killer Cops.”
The Grove shopping center, located across from the street from CBS Television City, was looted on Saturday evening, and the police kiosk outside the department store was set on fire.
The LA chapter of Black Lives Matter wrote their official Facebook page prior to the protest on May 30: “It took a nation-wide uprising to get Chauvin arrested for the murder of #GeorgeFloyd. Still 3 more killer cops to be arrested in Minneapolis and hundreds in LA. Still prosecutions and convictions to win. Still police to defund. It’s time. See y’all Saturday.”
The Los Angeles Fire Department tweeted, “We are aware of public protest activity in the #FairfaxDistrict of #LosAngeles. Though @LAFD is ready to assist any persons in need, at this time, all media and public information will come through law enforcement officials.”
Protestors Took to the Streets of Beverly Hills & Looted the Gucci Store on Rodeo Drive
As a preemptive measure, Rodeo Drive was shut down to traffic to help prevent the possibility of violence and looting taking place in the luxury shopping area located nearby in Beverly Hills. However, protesters were still able to make their way inside on foot. Videos shared on social media showed protesters chanting, “No Justice, No Peace,” “Eat the Rich” and “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.”
Following the outbreak of violence, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that he would be implementing a curfew on Saturday afternoon. He tweeted, “We will always protect free speech and Angelenos’ right to live without fear of violence or vandalism. To increase safety for demonstrators, law enforcement, and all citizens of Los Angeles, we are putting a curfew in place from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.”
However, before the curfew kicked in, the rally in Beverly Hills turned violent.
Just before 7 p.m. local time, the Gucci store on Rodeo Drive was looted. High-end stores up and down the street were vandalized.
Nearly 500 People Were Arrested in Downtown Los Angeles on Friday Night
Los Angeles Police spokesperson Josh Rubenstein told CNN that between 400 and 500 people were arrested during the protests that took place on Friday night in Los Angeles.
As reported by LAist, charges against protesters “include Burglary, Looting, Probation Violation, Battery on Police Officer, Attempted Murder and Failure to Disperse. All but 18 of those arrested have been released on their own recognizance.”
Following the violence and looting taking place in downtown LA on Friday night, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said, “I’m sorry that LA failed tonight. Our ability to have a demonstration — express our views, our anger, our disgust — unfortunately turned into an unruly situation with officers being injured, property damage occurring.”