The National Guard has left Los Angeles County following a week of peaceful protests. (Matthew Hall)

This story was updated June 9 at 9:02 a.m.

The National Guard left Los Angeles County, including Santa Monica, Sunday night, city officials said.

The National Guard arrived in the city on the night of May 31 following a peaceful protest against police violence in downtown Santa Monica that was accompanied by looting a few blocks away. Personnel have now exited the city and all freeway off-ramps and streets into Santa Monica have been reopened.

City Council member Sue Himmelrich has asked the city to launch an independent review of the Santa Monica Police Department’s response to the events of May 31. SMPD Chief of Police Cynthia Renaud called in the National Guard shortly after noon that day, but personnel did not arrive in the city until 9 p.m. because they were guarding City Hall.

“Analyses by independent professionals with expertise about the subject matter under investigation are an effective tool to help the city do better in the future,” Himmelrich said.

Renaud said at a town hall last week that SMPD had “no intelligence” that people would come to Santa Monica during the protest to loot hundreds of businesses, despite telling the Daily Press that the department knew looting was a possibility and had been sent social media posts advertising looting in the city.

SMPD arrested more than 400 protesters and looters May 31 and said last week that officers are searching for looters who escaped. The department announced Monday afternoon that peaceful protesters who had been arrested would not be prosecuted.

Residents and business owners have criticized the police department’s approach to the unrest, saying officers wasted time confronting peaceful protesters rather than stopping the looters. More than 55,000 people have signed a petition asking for Renaud to be recalled.

Renaud said in a statement issued Monday morning that she welcomes the independent review into SMPD’s response.

Himmelrich and Councilmembers Ana Maria Jara and Greg Morena introduced a motion for Tuesday’s City Council meeting to create a Black Agenda to address systemic racism in Santa Monica, including within City Hall.

Mayor Kevin McKeown also introduced a motion to adopt the “8Can’tWait” police reforms from Campaign Zero, which aim to reduce police killings by requiring police to exhaust all alternatives before shooting and de-escalate situations, among other situations.

Many Black Lives Matter advocates have criticized the effectiveness of 8Can’tWait, noting that police departments across the country that have adopted some or all of its proposed reforms have continued to kill black citizens.

The Minneapolis Police Department had at least four of the eight proposed reforms in place, including a rule that officers must intervene when other officers are using excessive force — a rule three officers ignored while former officer Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck.

In Louisville, where Breonna Taylor was killed by police in her home while sleeping, police officers are required to exhaust all alternatives before shooting and has a policy to warn subjects before shooting.

Most organizations against police violence, including Black Lives Matter, are now advocating to defund the police rather than focus on reform.

madeleine@smdp.com

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