LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Since the civil unrest that rocked Los Angeles throughout May and June in response to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a multi-agency task force has been conducting criminal investigations for significant crimes that occurred during that time.

The Safe L.A. Task Force announced Wednesday that so far,  LAPD has closed 42 of the 149 open cases and made several major arrests. LAPD Chief Michel Moore said one of their most significant arrests is of Gabriel Estrada, for the attempted murder of a police officer.

“I recall vividly as we had officers that were being fired on in the Venice area and being shot at,” Moore said. That individual was later then found downtown a few days later. Inside his vehicle was a firearm. That investigation in my view resulted in saving an officers life.”
The LAPD also arrested George Cruz for arson of a police vehicle, looting and for having an assault weapon and narcotics. Moore said that arrest came from a tip from the public.
“Many of these arrests are the direct result of tips and leads and our community stepping forward including demonstrators, people who were lawfully and rightfully in our streets,” he said.
Santa Monica’s police chief, Cynthia Renaud, said they found that people who committed crimes like looting, burglary and arson in their city also committed crimes in Long Beach and Los Angeles. Many of those crimes, she said, were well-coordinated.
“For the SMPD, that has resulted in 28 search warrants and 19 arrests,” Renaud said. “One notable involves the arson fire at the Sake House restaurant. Detectives reviewed video surveillance and identified suspects from that crime.”

Long Beach police chief Erik Herzog said his department has had success identifying suspects as well.

“So far to date, the LBPD has arrested 23 individuals,” he said. “To hold those people responsible for the acts of violence, burglaries they committed against hard working small business owners in our communities.”

The Task Force emphasized that they support lawful demonstrations and protect First Amendment rights, but they will not tolerate crimes and violence. They said two men who have been charged with arson both face five to 20 years in federal prison.
“These are serious charges for serious crimes and we hope this will send a message to others who seek to cause mayhem during periods of civil unrest,” said Nick Hanna, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California.

The Safe L.A. Task Force is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to any arrest in these cases.

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