After violent clashes and looting across the Los Angeles region, curfews were ordered from 8 p.m. Saturday to 5:30 a.m. Sunday for the entire city of L.A., as well as neighboring West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Santa Monica and Culver City.
Shortly after the curfew started in L.A., Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the California National Guard was being deployed overnight to help restore order.
Garcetti initially set a curfew for downtown L.A. only during a hastily arranged news conference at 3:40 p.m. A few hours later, he extended the curfew to all of the city.
The order came after days of unrest across the city over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Garcetti said in his afternoon news conference that Police Chief Michel Moore asked him to impose the downtown curfew “so that we can clean up the debris.”
As protests spread across the region, the West Hollywood city government announced its curfew on Twitter.”
Pasadena, Santa Monica and Culver City followed this evening by imposing their own curfews.
Meanwhile in Beverly Hills, Mayor Les Friedman and the city’s police department issued statements about their curfew.
Earlier in the day, demonstrators marched along the world-famous Rodeo Drive shopping district in Beverly Hills and sat in the middle of the street.
Some people in the crowd chanted “Eat the rich,” while others carried signs that read “Justice for George Floyd.” Late Saturday, the Alexander McQueen store was looted by masked protesters.
Back in Los Angeles, Garcetti imposed L.A.’s curfew after protesters clashed with officers outside the popular Farmer’s Market near the Grove.
Police formed a skirmish line just after 2:30 p.m. as thousands of demonstrators took over the intersection of Third Street and Fairfax Avenue, shutting down traffic in the heavily traveled area. The crowd continued to grow as the hours passed.
Despite the massive police presence in the area, people climbed on top of buildings, looted stores and squad cars were vandalized and burned.
At one point, protesters smashed the windows of a police cruiser before it went up in flames. Thick smoke could be seen billowing into the air during live coverage on CNN and several local TV stations.
The LAPD declared a tactical alert, requiring all on-duty personnel to continue working.
In nearby Pan Pacific Park, protesters took to social media to say police were firing rubber bullets.
In another development, some people vented on social media about CBS, saying the company was allowing police officers to temporarily operate out of Television City — the historic building in the Fairfax District previously owned by the network. However, CBS sold the facility in 2018, and only rents production stages there for some of its shows.
Saturday’s unrest followed days of skirmishes in downtown L.A., after protesters — led by Black Lives Matters — blocked freeways to bring attention to the issue of police brutality.
George Floyd, who was African American, died on May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer held him down with a knee on his neck.
Video recorded by an onlooker showed Floyd pleading “I can’t breathe,” while officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, refused to budge. As minutes passed, Floyd stopped talking and moving.
During his briefing this afternoon, L.A.’s mayor remembered Floyd and spoke of other recent police killings of African Americans, but said violent protests are not the answer.
“When the violence escalates, no one wins,” Garcetti stated. “I’m asking all of Los Angeles to take a deep breath and to step back.”
The police officer seen in the viral video with his knee on Floyd’s neck, was fired Tuesday.
After nationwide pressure from activists, protesters and celebrities, Chauvin was taken into custody Friday and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
The other three officers at the scene were fired, but have not been arrested.
City News Service contributed to this report.