As protests demanding justice following the death of George Floyd take place in major cities across America, peaceful rallies turned violent for the third day in a row in Los Angeles. On Sunday, at around 2 p.m. local time, a calm rally in Santa Monica was disrupted by looters breaking into the 3rd Street Promenade.
Looters were running into stores and grabbing as much merchandise as they could hold in their hands before jumping into getaway cars. Earlier in the day, the Santa Monica Police tweeted, “Today, you may see some businesses, including the mall, fortify their storefronts to avoid possible damage. We ask that our community remain calm and safe, and that your freedom of expression remain peaceful.”
However, based on the videos shared on Twitter, the preventative measures taken weren’t enough on May 31.
Absolute Chaos along 4th street in Santa Monica… looting with impunity on both sides of the street. No police in sight. We’ve watched this happen to dozens of stores for 45 minutes now… pic.twitter.com/WOdEhIz3th
— Gadi Schwartz (@GadiNBC) May 31, 2020
— SwipeMarket (@SwipeMarket) May 31, 2020
— Greg Berry (@gregmberry) May 31, 2020
The looting started less than an hour after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti gave a speech on protecting the city’s citizens and announced a countywide curfew from 8 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. for the second night in a row. Similar to the looting that took place in Fairfax Village the day before in Los Angeles, people started looting stores in Santa Monica in broad daylight.
People are looting in Santa Monica and so far no police stopping them. Broad daylight. This is pure insanity. pic.twitter.com/CEA6UAiXfc
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) May 31, 2020
LEAVE SANTA MONICA NOW IF YOU CAN I WAS JUST TEAR GASSED THEY ARE ARRESTING EVERYONE AND TEAR GASSING ALL CROWDS
— madison beer (@madisonbeer) May 31, 2020
Scary scene in Santa Monica as people are trying to protect businesses from looters. pic.twitter.com/83gFVY8zkT
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) May 31, 2020
The looting was not limited to storefronts. A Santa Monica local captured video of people stealing merchandise from an Amazon delivery truck parked in the area.
@JeffBezos @amazon people are looting your trucks in Santa Monica, CA. Get your drivers home safely. People can wait a day for packages. @santamonicacity @SantaMonicaPD pic.twitter.com/w5YD2Cdh1G
— David Hansen (@investDRH) May 31, 2020
Police the shut down the area near the pier on Ocean Avenue, which runs alongside where the Pacific Coast Highway meets the 10 Freeway. SMPD tweeted, “All I-10 and PCH off-ramps into Santa Monica now closed through CHP. 4 p.m. curfew in place. Stay out of downtown.”
Before Looting Started, Santa Monica Protesters Kneeled to Take a Moment of Silence for Floyd
— ERIC BALFOUR (@ERICBALFOUR) May 31, 2020
FOX LA reporter Bill Melugin tweeted, “Here’s what happened in Santa Monica. I was at a very peaceful protest/march down Montana just 20 minutes ago that had zero issues. At some point, a separate crowd of scumbags formed and have decided to go hit the Promenade area and loot it.”
Protesters Took to the Streets of Beverly Hills Before Looters Vandalized Rodeo Drive Stores on Saturday
— max parke (@cyraxible) May 30, 2020
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 of Beverly Hills on Saturday. 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.”
Hundreds of people protesting at Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. pic.twitter.com/xlQ2Fc30XG
— Top Gay Newz (@topgaynewz) May 30, 2020
OK… They’re marching through Beverly Hills!! This might get interesting.. https://t.co/X0aaopYO8d
— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) May 30, 2020
Later in the evening, looters returned to the Fairfax Village area, where Saturday’s protest first started, and broke into stores up and down Melrose Avenue.
Nearly 500 People Were Arrested in Downtown Los Angeles on Friday Night
Protest turned riot in Downtown Los Angeles. Looting begins and police escalate tactics as the night grows older. pic.twitter.com/uavhmU8cDE
— Errik Manning (@ErrikManning) May 30, 2020
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 protestors “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.”