The National Guard Is Reportedly Pulling Out of L.A.

Heavily armed soldiers will no longer be a presence at L.A.’s peaceful protests

For a week, heavily armed civilian soldiers have been a constant presence at peaceful protests throughout Los Angeles, but that’s reportedly about to change. According to the Los Angeles Times, the National Guard will pull out of the L.A. area sometime on Sunday.

The Guard was called in on May 30 by Mayor Eric Garcetti in response to looting that took place in the wake of last weekend’s Black Lives Matter protest against police brutality in the Fairfax district; there were additional incidents of looting on Sunday in Santa Monica and on Monday in Hollywood and Van Nuys, but they are not believed to be associated with the protests.

A source tells the Times that a small number of Guard members will stick around to protect “key L.A. assets.” There were more than 1,000 troops in the L.A. area at the height of the operation, some of them carrying M4 rifles. Not all local leaders supported Garcetti’s decision to bring in the Guard. Last weekend, District 8 councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson tweeted that “soliciting the national guard to join forces with LAPD is not what we need. It’s clear that our fear is real that additional law enforcement will only further violence against people of color.”

Over the past week, the LAPD has faced widespread criticism for using violence in place of deescalation or crowd control during the peaceful protests that have taken place in the wake of the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota. LAPD officers have been seen on video beating protesters with clubs, shooting what appear to be pepper balls at young people out past curfew, and at least one instance of a police vehicle colliding with an unarmed protester.

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