A boarded-up Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. The Grove, one of the city’s premier dining and retail centers, staggering with several stores looted. National Guard troops deployed in the streets, and an entire police department mobilized for the first time in 25 years.
That’s what Los Angeles woke up to this morning, as an overnight curfew attempted to quell the mob rule that dominated most of Saturday. The protests marked the fourth straight day of activity, and there is little to indicate that passions and violence will cool over the next few days.
For a fragile city that is still in an economic recovery from the two-month shutdown of business by the pandemic, Friday and Saturday’s arson, looting, and general chaos is a blow that will make it that much tougher for Los Angeles to revive.
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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti held a press conference at 4 PM on Saturday offering a velvet hand out to protesters, expressing hopes that everyone would simply stop any violent actions. He pooh-poohed the idea of bringing in the National Guard, saying that’s not what the city is about. He also limited the curfew he instituted to the downtown area, despite a massive gathering already brewing in midtown, where a police car had been burned and other police vehicles were damaged.
Hours later, Garcetti was begging Governor Gavin Newsom to send troops and declaring a state of emergency.
Garcetti’s misread of the city’s street situation and the mood as the protests devolved was just one step along the way toward Saturday night’s chaos. Police were stretched, having to cover looting activities across the span of the city. More than 550 people were arrested on Friday in downtown’s protest activities, and although no officials totals for Saturday have been released, it’s likely at least several hundred people were detained on Saturday.
“This is not the solution,” he said. “We haven’t given up on L.A., and L.A. shouldn’t give up on itself. We can pull around this…Policing doesn’t fix these kinds of societal problems. I need all of L.A. to step up right now and be part of the solution.”
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