UPDATED, 11:50 AM: Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva restated his stance on the county’s nightly curfews in an interview with KTLA5 on Wednesday. The sheriff had told the outlet on Tuesday that curfews would “on a daily basis until the organized protests are gone.” Wednesday morning, Villanueva said conditions overnight were much, much better.
“We saw mass amounts of people protesting peacefully” last night, said Villanueva. “As a result, hopefully we can start altering the curfew.”
“We definitely want to reward good behavior,” he said of the curfew. “We’re assessing it day by day.”
That statement reflected Villanueva’s stance on Sunday (see below), before his comments yesterday.
In fact, the L.A. County curfew was loosened before the sheriff’s comments on Wednesday. What had been a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. was modified to 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. for the June 3rd-4th overnight hours.
Villanueva also explained his policing goals on Wednesday.
“We’re about civic engagement, not enforcement,” said the sheriff. “We measure our success by all the relationships we are building, not by the number of people who go to jail…Ultimately the people are the police and the police are the people.”
“We want to defend and protect all the lawful protests…and we’ll also be ready to address people who are trying to take advantage of the situation.”
PREVIOUSLYAt midday on Tuesday, L.A. County announced another night of curfew. The City of Angels soon followed by extending its own lockdown order in response to unrest following widespread protests over the killing of George Floyd.
Those curfews will last from 6 pm on Tuesday until 6 am on Wednesday. This is the fourth night in a row that the streets of America’s second largest city will go quiet, at least in theory.
County supervisors, in concert with the sheriff, have amended the curfew order each day for the past two days extending the lockdown another 24 hours each time.
Asked on Tuesday if he would extend the curfew for a week, as some other cities have, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said, “No, for me it’s day to day. My hope in my heart is that every day we won’t need it.”
On Sunday, L.A. County’s top law enforcement official was on the same page.
“We’re going to evaluate day-by-day,” L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told a KABC7 reporter on air. “For sure tonight. Most likely it’s going to happen again tomorrow night. We’ll see what happens after that.”
But, in a live interview on KTLA5 on Tuesday afternoon, Villanueva said, “The curfew will continue on a daily basis until the organized protests are gone. Because, unfortunately, the looters and the organized criminal element that’s embedded within the looting, they’re taking advantage of that situation. So as long as that cover still exists, we have to continue the curfew. But it’s two different groups: We have the protesters, who are legitimately doing a good job, and then we have the looter crowd. So we’re definitely trying to separate the two.”