LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Thousands of protestors gathered in the Fairfax District on Saturday, marking a fourth night of unrest across Los Angeles after the deadly arrest of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Monday.
The demonstration, initially planned by Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, began at Pan Pacific Park around noon. As the crowd grew, it began to take over the intersection of Third Street and Fairfax Avenue, blocking traffic.
At first, the situation was relatively peaceful and organized, but around 3 p.m. the protestors began moving toward Beverly Hills, the Melrose District, and other areas around the Fairfax District, and tensions began to rise.
Several police cars were vandalized and at least two were set on fire.
Some stores along Rodeo Drive and Melrose Avenue were vandalized and looted. Around 7 p.m., a fire broke out at a kiosk outside Nordstrom at the Grove, next to the original protest site. The kiosk is reportedly where police officers sit during the day, when they aren’t on patrol, as way for the public to interact with them.
It appears the individuals who attempted to loot stores and incite violence were separate from the Black Lives Matter protesters who initially organized a peaceful gathering in L.A. and surrounding areas.
CBSLA reporter Jeff Nguyen, who was on the scene, said most protestors did not condone the vandalism. As many marched with signs and remained peaceful, a smaller crowd formed and began violently targeting police.
The LAPD declared an unlawful assembly in response to the violence, and the city of Los Angeles issued a citywide curfew in an effort to de-escalate the situation.
UPDATE: The existing curfew is now applicable to the ENTIRE city of Los Angeles.
All residents are to remain indoors from 8:00pm tonight until 5:30am tomorrow morning. https://t.co/BBj41MbPzp
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) May 31, 2020
L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies and LAPD were both on the scene in tactical gear. LAPD Chief Michel Moore said the entire police department was mobilized on Saturday, which has not happened in over 20 years.
Tear gas was deployed in multiple locations around the area as tensions rose. Once an unlawful assembly was declared, officers began firing rubber bullets at protestors in an attempt to disperse crowds.
Saturday’s events follow Friday night demonstrations that also turned violent, prompting police to declare an unlawful assembly in downtown L.A. At least six officers were hurt and 533 protesters were taken into custody.
“The Department will be deploying additional resources to maintain order and ensure the safety and security of not only individuals exercising their first amendment rights, but also the residents and businesses in our community,” the LAPD tweeted Saturday morning.
The department also posted a message from Chief Michel Moore, urging protestors to not become violent again.
“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 in the tweet.
On Monday, cell phone captured footage of the violent arrest of the 46-year-old Floyd in Minneapolis. The video showed a white police officer with his knee pushed against Floyd’s neck has he repeatedly says he cannot breath. He later died in a hospital.
All four officers involved in the arrest were fired Tuesday. The ex-officer shown with his knee against Floyd’s neck was identified as Derek Chauvin. On Friday, he was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
According to CBS Minnesota, the officers had been dispatched to a report of someone using a forged document at a deli. Police initially claimed Floyd resisted officers and was intoxicated.
Video of the arrest spread on social media and has sparked protests nationwide. During violent protests in Minneapolis Thursday night, protesters took over a police precinct and set it ablaze.
This is a breaking news story. More information will be added as soon as it becomes available.