By STEFANIE DAZIO and DAISY NGUYEN

Police cars were torched in broad daylight Saturday as some protesters in Los Angeles ignored authorities’ call for peaceful demonstrations over George Floyd’s death after a night of violence that saw windows smashed, stores robbed and fires set in several California cities.

A mostly peaceful demonstration near the Grove, a popular mall in the middle of the city, devolved in the afternoon when protesters set several LAPD cars on fire, broke windows and climbed on top of a bus.

Police used batons to move protesters back and also shot rubber bullets to scatter the crowd.

The demonstration came hours after Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said more resources would be employed to guard against violence.

“I am asking for all of Los Angeles to come together and find the ability to peacefully express individual and collective grievances while also maintaining the safety of all of Angelenos,” he said.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti imposed a citywide curfew Saturday, saying everyone must be off the streets by 8 p.m. local time until 5 a.m.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said authorities were closely monitoring organizing by violent extremist groups who may be trying to use the protests for their own agendas.

“To those who seek to exploit Californians’ pain to sow chaos and destruction, you are not welcome,” he said. “Our state and nation must build from this moment united and more resolved than ever to address racism and its root causes.”

In Oakland, 13 officers were injured late Friday as demonstrators hurled objects at them. A federal contract security officer was killed and another critically injured when a vehicle pulled up to the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building and someone opened fire. The officers guard the U.S. courthouse as part of their regular duties and were monitoring the protest, Department of Homeland Security officials said.

It wasn’t immediately known whether the shooter had anything to do with the protest.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein condemned the shooting, saying in a statement that fury over Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police doesn’t justify violence.

“Every effort must be taken to apprehend and prosecute those who use deadly violence,” she said. “People must have the right to peacefully and safely protest in Oakland and across the country.”

The death of the 46-year-old Floyd, who was recorded on video pleading for air as a white Minneapolis officer pressed a knee on his neck, has shocked the country and produced violence in numerous citie s. Police chiefs and police unions have called it unjustifiable and excessive force and the officer has been charged with murder.

Demonstrations resumed by midday Saturday as hundreds of people took to the streets of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento, and police were wary about what might come at night.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said authorities were closely monitoring organizing by violent extremist groups who may be trying to use the protests for their own agendas.

“To those who seek to exploit Californians’ pain to sow chaos and destruction, you are not welcome,” he said. “Our state and nation must build from this moment united and more resolved than ever to address racism and its root causes.”

The LAPD said 533 people were arrested after ignoring repeated orders to disperse when authorities declared an unlawful assembly. They faced a range of charges, including burglary, battery on a police officer, attempted murder, probation violation and failure to disperse. All but 18 were released on their recognizance.

Police had items thrown at them and six LAPD officers sustained injuries ranging from lacerations to impact wounds.

Demonstrators briefly shut down two freeways as they wound through downtown LA for the third night. The situation deteriorated late into the night when windows were smashed and some demonstrators stole items from jewelry stores, a Starbucks coffee shop and other businesses. A fire was set in an intersection and at least two police vehicles were burned.

As the chaos unfolded, Garcetti tweeted: “Let’s remember why we march, protect each other, and bring a peaceful end to a painful night.”

In the San Francisco Bay Area, protests in Oakland and San Jose grew increasingly tense and confrontational as the night wore on. Small fires were set inside a Walgreens and a Mercedes-Benz dealership on Oakland’s auto row, where several cars were smashed and spray-painted with graffiti. City officials said more than 70 businesses were vandalized.

“This is not who we are,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a videotaped statement Saturday. “We must fight the travesty of racism but we must do it in a way that works. Let’s not destroy or harm our own community.”

In San Jose, a Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputy fired at an SUV that attempted to drive through a group of protesters, striking two of them while attempting to make a U-turn, the East Bay Times reported.

Police in both cities fired tear gas and flashbang grenades to break up unruly crowds.

Oakland police said in a preliminary report that at least 18 people were arrested and another 60 detained for investigation of stealing.

In Sacramento, nine police officers sustained minor injuries at a protest that drew about 500 people.

In Bakersfield, police arrested a man they said drove recklessly through a crowd of protesters, striking a 15-year-old girl and causing minor injuries. Officers monitoring the protest noticed that Michael Tran, 31, passed by the crowd several times and appeared to be talking to the protesters, possibly antagonizing them, police said.

He was booked into jail for investigation of attempted murder.

Police said a number of protesters blocked a roadway, threw bottles and rocks at officers and vandalized a memorial dedicated to fallen officers. Ten people were arrested for resisting and obstructing officers.

 

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1 Comment

  1. What the rioters are telling you people is that your police officers are the exact same thing as the officer who killed that black man in Minneapolis when nothing could be further from the truth but none of you will admit the truth that’s why this is happening.

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