Home Blog

A Countywide Curfew Resumes on Monday at 6 p.m. in Los Angeles

UPDATE 6/1/20: For a third night, L.A. County will be enforcing a 6 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew throughout all incorporated and unincorporated areas, including the City of Los Angeles. The order instructs people to stay off “public streets, avenues, boulevards, places, walkways, alleys, parks or any public areas or unimproved private realty” starting and ending at the designated times. The order does not apply to police officers, firefighters, and the National Guard, as well as credentialed media, people traveling to and from work, people who need medical help, and “people experiencing homelessness and without access to a viable shelter.”

In a statement, Mayor Eric Garcetti said, “The focus needs to stay on taking down systemic racism and ending senseless violence against Black men and women—and we can’t let a small number of people hijack that movement by putting lives in danger and destroying property,” Garcetti said in a statement. “We are keeping the curfew in place tonight to protect everyone’s safety and help our first responders keep the peace.”

More stringent curfews in municipalities supersede the County order. For instance, Santa Monica is enforcing a 1 p.m. curfew in the “downtown business area” and a 4 p.m. curfew in the rest of the city. Same goes for Beverly Hills and Long Beach (1 p.m. in business districts, 4 p.m. citywide).


UPDATE 5/31/20: As protesters continue to demonstrate against police violence across the city, L.A. County has implemented a curfew beginning at 6 p.m. on Sunday and ending at 6 a.m. on Monday morning. Earlier today, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that a citywide curfew would be in place beginning at 8 p.m., but Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s curfew supersedes the Mayor’s order.

“In the event the county curfew is more stringent than a resident’s local curfew order, the county curfew will supersede it,” the county’s website explains. “In other words, if a resident’s local curfew order is 8 p.m., the 6 p.m. county curfew supersedes it; if the local order is 4 p.m., the local order still stands.”

Throughout Los Angeles, people received conflicting emergency alerts on their phones, prompting confusion and suspicion that the conflict was meant to confuse people. Mayor Garcetti has not deleted or updated a tweet from earlier today that says curfew begins at 8 p.m. on Sunday.

“All incorporated and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County shall adhere to staying off public streets, avenues, boulevards, places, walkways, alleys, parks or any public areas or unimproved private realty within Los Angeles County, between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following day,” the county’s website says. The order does not apply to police officers, firefighters, and the National Guard, as well as people traveling to and from work, people who need medical help, and “people experiencing homelessness and without access to a viable shelter.”


Originally published 5/30/20:

A protest that began around noon in Pan-Pacific Park has since migrated to the area of 3rd and Fairfax, where the LAPD has declared an unlawful assembly. At least one police vehicle was set on fire and several others were vandalized as police bombarded the area, reportedly deploying tear gas and flash bangs.

As some of the crowd dispersed, a group of protesters, both on foot and in cars, made its way through the city, heading east on Beverly Boulevard. At approximately 3:30 p.m., moments after a parade of police cars and motorcycles headed west through the area, the protesters made their way through Larchmont Village, where neighbors stopped and chanted in support.

It’s the fourth day of nationwide protests against racism and police violence in the wake of the death of George Floyd, who died while being detained by Minneapolis police on May 25. Derek Chauvin, the officer who was filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck for a prolonged period of time, has since been arrested and charged with murder.

After a night of protests in downtown L.A. that resulted in upward of 500 arrests, Mayor Eric Garcetti has implemented a curfew beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday night, continuing through 5:30 a.m. Sunday. Initially, the curfew only impacted downtown, but it’s now citywide.


RELATED: The LAPD Arrested 500 Protesters in DTLA on Friday Night


Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.

 

 

 

 

Mayor Garcetti’s Budget, Which Includes a Bump in LAPD Funding, Will Be Approved Unless the City Council Acts

With the Los Angeles city budget for the coming fiscal year due today, critics are calling for an eleventh-hour reassessment of how public funds are to be spent. In the proposed budget laid out by Mayor Eric Garcetti, the LAPD gets far and away the largest slice of the pie. At $1,857,330,549, the police budget is larger than the allocations to the fire department, Office of Emergency Management, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Street Services, and the Housing and Community Investment Agency combined. While pandemic has pushed most departments to tighten belts or furlough city workers, the LAPD budget is slightly increased from last year—even as concerns about the city’s police force have sent people spilling out into city streets.

In late May, a group of local activists released what they call a “People’s Budget” for L.A. which, they assert, offers a guide to reallocating funds away from policing and into providing direct services in communities.

“For Los Angeles, a budget is a reflection of the city’s values,” reads a statement accompanying the People’s Budget. “When deciding how to allocate resources, the question becomes who and what do we value most: Is it investing in our children, providing shelter, food, and medical care for our most vulnerable populations? Is it helping our city withstand a global pandemic? Or is it investing in a police state that won’t make our communities any safer, and will actually harm those who need help the most, especially now? ”

The People’s Budget proposes a formula based on proportions of the total discretionary budget to be allocated to broad categories or goals. It suggests putting the largest share—44.25 percent—into what it terms “universal aid and crisis management.” That bucket would hold funding for housing, including addressing homelessness, as well as public health and emergency response.

“Law enforcement and policing” would be reduced to less than six percent of the total—a reduction arrived at by slashing budgets for parking enforcement, police, and the city attorney’s office—but nearly a quarter of the People’s Budget would go to “reimagined community safety.”

“We were outraged when we saw a budget that cut virtually every other city department, including the ones most needed right now in the midst of the pandemic and the economic fallout—while actually increasing funding to LAPD,” said Dr. Melina Abdullah, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter L.A. told LAist. BLM-LA is among the organizations backing the People’s Budget project, along with Los Angeles Community Action Network, Ground Game L.A., Sunrise Movement, and numerous other local groups.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents police officers, disagreed with the idea that the LAPD budget was outsized. “These groups have failed again to make their case, to convince voters or a majority of their local elected officials that their worldview is the right one,” a representative of the group emailed LAist. “Cutting the police department will put our community at greater risk but sure makes for a good headline.”

While activists are suggesting Angelenos contact City Council President Nury Martinez and Budget and Finance Committee Chair Paul Krekorian to call for an emergency council meeting to discuss the mayor’s budget proposal, that meeting would likely have to take place today, and no public statement has yet been released to indicate that such a meeting will be called. By protocols established in the city charter, if the council does not act by the deadline, the mayor’s proposal will automatically be considered adopted. California law establishes a final budget must be approved by the last day of the current fiscal year. Given the current pandemic and economic uncertainty, however, City Hall has already acknowledged that the F.Y. 2020-21 budget will be treated as something of a working document, open to a lot of revision.


RELATED: Video Appears to Show an LAPD Vehicle Come into Contact with a Protester in DTLA


Stay up to date with everything you need to know about L.A. by following us on Facebook and Instagram.

 

A Complete Guide to a Full Month of (Virtual) Pride Events

Pride Month has rolled around again, and instead of gearing up for parades and parties, most people are still hunkering down as the pandemic continues to take a toll on Los Angeles. But there’s still plenty of queer fun to be had, if you know where to look.


Go Global …

The international organization InterPride is collaborating with the European Pride Organizers Association for Global Pride, a 24-hour livestreamed celebration with speeches, musical performances, and contributions from various regional Pride festivals. June 27, globalpride2020.org.

Or Keep It Local

Every year West Hollywood’s Arts Division organizes the One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival, which runs from Harvey Milk Day (May 22) through the end of June. This year the event kicked off with a staged reading of Dear Harvey on Harvey Milk Day, and will continue with a variety of online programs, including Pride Poets weekly open mics (Fridays, 6-8 p.m.), the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights Pride Playreading Festival (June 20 & 21, 4 p.m.), a panel discussion with the owners of Circus of Books and transsexual activist Buck Angel (June 30, 6 p.m.), and more. May 22-June 30, weho.org/pride.

Shake It Off

Lez Croix have been organizing alternative, queer-inclusive parties marking Pride weekend since 2017, and this year they’ll be continuing that tradition—virtually. On June 12 at 8 p.m., they’re throwing an online dance party called Mask/Femme Friday, and on June 14 at 2 p.m., they’re hosting the We Are Essential Sunday soiree. The events will have guest DJs, a contest, and more interactive Zoom experiences. @lezcroix on Instagram and Facebook.

Hit the Pubs

Condé Nast’s LGBTQ brand, them, will feature some of its favorite performers, artists, and activists in Out Now Live, a virtual pride festival broadcast over the publication’s social media channels. The fest will include performances, uplifting speeches and messages, storytelling, and more. June 22, @them on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Feed Your Appetite

The new cookbook Tasty Pride (available in hardcover and on Kindle) features 75 recipes and stories from those in the queer community, including Queer Eye favorite Antoni Porowski and Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Out now from Penguin Random House.

Go to Your Zoom

Get ready to turn your living room into a dance floor. Two of L.A.’s hottest events are teaming to throw a Zoom blowout called GAY ASS DIVORCE on June 13. Gay Asstrology will supply the dance-pop music, while Bar Franca’s DIVORCE Party, hosted by DJ Couples Therapy, will add ’90s hip-hop and R&B to the mix. It’ll kick off with a happy hour at 7 p.m. before turning into a dance party until 10 p.m.—or later. @divorce_partyla and @gayasstrology on Instagram.

Get Kinky

Dominatrix Mistress Justine Cross is putting together Los Angeles Kink Pride online. The week is jam-packed with activities, including BDSM classes, a leather social hosted by the local queer play party Deviant (June 6, 8 p.m.), a kinky QTBIPOC dance party (June 11, 8 p.m.), a guided meditation to get in touch with your proclivities (June 13, 11:30 a.m.), and more. June 6-June 14; LAKinkPride.com.

Get in the Pink

Tune in to the inaugural edition of PinkNews’s online festival Pride for All to watch panel discussions, music sessions, drag tutorials, and Q&As with LGBTQ notables. June 4-7, pinknews.co.uk

Story Time

While local drag queens have had to stop holding Drag Queen Story Hours at public libraries, the fabulous readings are still happening online several times a week with queens like Elecktra, Flame, and Panda Dulce. Facebook.com/dragqueenstoryhour.

Kick It Up

Adidas’s annual Pride shoe collection features six silhouettes inspired by the rainbow flag. Priced from $30 to $180, the sneakers and slides will help you keep it colorful even though you can’t strut your stuff at the parade. adidas.com.

Jump the Q

ProjectQ Community Center, a queer-run non-profit that provides free workshops and gender-affirming haircuts to homeless LGBTQ+ youth, is hosting a PRIDE Membership Drive with two weeks of virtual programming. They’ll broadcast a variety of workshops and panels on Instagram, including a live Q&A with queer astrologer Chani Nicholas (June 8, 3 p.m.) and a gardening workshop with La Loba Loca, a queer doula and herbalist (June 17, 11.a.m.). June 7-20; @project_q_ on Instagram.

Go Gaga

Calling all Little Monsters—Precinct, Redline, and San Francisco’s the Stud are jointly hosting GaGaThon, a fundraiser celebrating the release of Lady Gaga’s new album. The event will livestream on Twitch and feature performers all night long, including RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Alaska Thunderfuck 5000, Nina West, and Ongina. June 11, 7 p.m.; twitch.tv/dragalive.

Grab the Mic

June is the one year anniversary of Open Dyke Night, a monthly lesbian/queer piano bar and karaoke night, which first started at Tramp Stamp Granny’s in Hollywood. To celebrate, they’re having a special Zoom Pride Edition on June 16. @opendykenight on Instagram.

Embrace That Quar Life

Queer dance party Club Quarantine has been livestreaming every single night of the quarantine, with a star-studded roster of guest DJs from Charli XCX to Big Freedia. While they can’t spill the beans on their Pride plans just yet, they have something extra special in the works, and Club Q visitors can expect high-energy parties with celebrity guests and international performers all month long. @clubquarantine on Instagram.

Meet the Pod People

For the past three years, Tobin Low and Kathy Tu have captured the hearts of the queer community on their podcast Nancy. They recently announced that WNYC Studios hasn’t renewed the show for another season, so the final episode will drop on June 29. Get your tissues ready, because this send-off might be a tearjerker. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Play.

Celebrate the Big 5-0

This year is the 50th anniversary of the L.A. Pride Parade and Festival, organized by the non-profit Christopher Street West (CSW). To commemorate the milestone, CSW is planning a full schedule of initiatives to be hosted on various online platforms through 2021. See lapride.org for updates.

Go from Zero to Queero

Silver Lake’s Akbar is honoring its queer heroes through a virtual Queeroes series. Throughout Pride week, the staff will each post a daily “Queero” on Instagram and Facebook and explain what makes that person special. @akbarsilverlake on Instagram and Facebook

On the Drag

Iconic WeHo institution the Abbey will have a weekly Pride drag show every Monday at 8.p.m. on Facebook Live, in addition to other Pride surprises in store. The Abbey is also encouraging its community to share their favorite Abbey moments with #AbbeyPride to use in an online showcase of videos and photos from Prides past. facebook.com/abbeyweho.


RELATED: ‘It’s What Keeps Me in Business’: WeHo Gay Bars Brace for a Year without Pride Crowds


Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.

Peaceful Protests and Looting in Santa Monica as Anger Over Injustice Continues

Around 150 protesters met at the corner of Ocean and Montana in Santa Monica Sunday at noon to decry the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and law enforcement’s history of violence against black people. In front of Palisades Park and the beachfront—just recently reopened to the public after the two-month stay-at-home order—the mostly young crowd carried signs that read “I can’t breathe” and “Black Lives Matter.” Drivers honked their horns in support as they passed by, and locals on foot gave protesters a thumbs up.

That group eventually made its way to Santa Monica Pier, as a different scene developed at Santa Monica Place, where looters entered stores and made off with sporting goods, clothes, and other items. Three police officers stood guard at entrance to the Third Street Promenade at Wilshire Boulevard and Third Street, and no pedestrians or potential shoppers were allowed to pass through, except for people picking up food at a nearby Chipotle, where they were watched by another police officer. The mall had just opened for business again the day before, on Saturday, May 30.

As the day wore on, the looting spread. Upscale second-hand designer store Wasteland, between Santa Monica Boulevard and Arizona, which had been boarded up with a mural that read “After the Plague Comes the Renaissance,” had its doors beaten down, and hundreds of looters were observed live on MSNBC grabbing as many designer and vintage goods as they could. Observers stood by, taking video of the surreal scene on their iPhones.

REI sporting goods on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and 4th had its windows and doors smashed in, and looters were seen leaving with bicycles, skateboards, and surfboards. Retail owners who hadn’t yet been hit were outside stores, boarding them up as quickly as possible.

Early in the day, police didn’t seem particularly eager to engage with looters, and there appeared to be little violence. But some in L.A. have criticized a lack of police response to commercial property damage. Aaron Landy, a resident of the Fairfax neighborhood, which was affected by looting on Saturday night, told the Los Angeles Times that he recalled wondering, “Where are the police? They’re nowhere. There’s not a policeman in sight. It’s just like a free-for-all. It was just shocking. I was outraged.”

Mayor Eric Garcetti has also chimed in to admonish people who engaged in “destruction and looting,” saying, “They have not just caused chaos and damage. They are hijacking a moment and a movement.”

MSNBC interviewed Mozza owner Nancy Silverton outside of Mozza2Go on Sunday afternoon, after the restaurant was damaged on Saturday night on live television. Apparently, the people who entered mostly grabbed wine. Silverton told the reporter, “I just survived COVID-19 and now I’m a riot-looting survivor.” Sunday also saw looting in downtown Long Beach and San Diego.

Despite the focus on destruction of commercial property, much of the protesting that’s taken place since last week in Los Angeles has been peaceful. On Saturday, Black Lives Matter held an hours-long rally in Pan Pacific Park without incident, and a peaceful procession of protesters subsequently made its way across large swaths of the city. The deployment of large numbers of police officers and civilian National Guard soldiers has ramped up tensions in areas where demonstrations are taking place, as was the case in Fairfax on Saturday.

On Sunday, Santa Monica imposed a curfew for 4 p.m. to last through 5:30 a.m. Monday. As of 6 a.m., helicopters could still be heard hovering above the city and National Guard troops are standing vigil outside stores. According to Santa Monica PD, 400 people were ultimately arrested, most of them from outside the city.


RELATED: Inside Saturday’s Protests, from Pan-Pacific Park to Beverly Hills


Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.

Daily Brief: For Some, the Weekend’s Protests Harken Back to 1992

» For many, the weekend’s protests have recalled 1992. What lessons from the Rodney King era can be applied to today? [The Washington Post]

» People who joined the protests in L.A. on what motivated them to participate. “Sometimes peaceful is not enough,” one young person told reporters. [Los Angeles Times]

» Donald Trump threatened Americans with “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons” for engaging in protests. He also tweeted a phrase linked to police suppression of Black people in the South in the 1960s. [ABC News]

» Journalists covering protests reported being targeted with tear gas, rubber bullets, and arrests. “I’ve covered protests involving police in Ferguson, Mo., Baton Rouge, La., Dallas and Los Angeles. I’ve covered the U.S. military in war zones, including Iraq and Afghanistan,” wrote Los Angeles Times reporter Molly Hennessy-Fiske. “I have never been fired at by police until tonight.” [Vanity Fair]

» “Have some moral courage and stop worrying about your reputation and your brand,” CNN presenter Don Lemon said, addressing his rich and famous friends. Lemon accused an unnamed group of powerful people of sitting by silently rather than addressing injustice. [Vulture]

» Insecure actor Kendrick Sampson was among those shot with rubber bullets by LAPD. During an Instagram Live stream, he was hit four times with the projectiles, drawing blood from his face, and struck by an officer carrying a baton.  [The Hollywood Reporter]


TOP STORIES FROM L.A. MAG

» Protests Began Peacefully in Pan-Pacific Park Before Tensions Mounted Images from protests in L.A. 

» Netflix Has Officially Purchased the Historic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood The company would operate the historic cinema in collaboration with American Cinematheque

» Protesters Met by Multitudes of Police in Downtown L.A. on Saturday Night Walls of LAPD officers boxed in and arrested protesters (and at least one journalist) after the previous night’s uprising caused damage in DTLA


ONE MORE THING

george floyd protest how to support protesters

These Organizations Are Accepting Donations to Support Protesters in L.A. and Nationwide

In recent days, thousands of Angelenos have taken to the street in demonstrations expressing anger at police brutality. If you are wondering how to support protesters with financial contributions to the anti-brutality movement, several verified organizations are accepting donations.

[FULL STORY]


Want the Daily Brief in your inbox? Sign up for our newsletters today.

Video Appears to Show an LAPD Vehicle Come into Contact with a Protester in DTLA

Video captured by World Magazine reporter Sophia Lee Hyun and shared on Twitter this afternoon appears to document an altercation between an LAPD officer or officers inside an SUV and a small band of protesters making their way through downtown.

The video depicts a police SUV stopped at a crosswalk on a mostly empty street adjacent to Pershing Square. Two people stand directly in front of the vehicle, with a modest gathering of marchers considerably farther behind. After a moment of hesitation at the crosswalk, as protesters chant and appear to begin walking towards the SUV, the driver swerves and accelerates as a man falls to the ground and appears to briefly slip beneath the vehicle’s front end. Rather than stop, the vehicle rapidly reverses into the empty street, then turns and speeds away.

According to Hyun the victim was not severely injured. “The guy is OK,” she tweeted shortly after posting the initial video, “He got a scrape on his ankle and is in shock.”

The incident was also captured from above by KTLA cameras.

An LAPD spokesperson informed Los Angeles that “the Los Angeles Police Department is aware of the incident that occurred during one of the many spontaneous protests in downtown Los Angeles” and stated that the department is “looking into the matter.” No information was provided about the status of the officer driving the SUV.

The sight of a police vehicle striking a civilian is reminiscent of a number of reports from Saturday’s protests in New York City. That city’s mayor has called today for a formal investigation into law enforcement behavior after at least two police SUVs were documented plowing into a group of demonstrators.

“NYPD officers just drove an SUV into a crowd of human beings,” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted about the situation. “They could’ve killed them and we don’t know how many they injured. NO ONE gets to slam an SUV through a crowd of human beings.”


RELATED: PHOTOS: Protests Began Peacefully in Pan-Pacific Park Before Tensions Mounted


Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.

These Organizations Are Accepting Donations to Support Protesters in L.A. and Nationwide

In recent days, thousands of Angelenos have taken to the street in demonstrations expressing anger at police brutality, triggered specifically by the May 25 killing of George Floyd, for which a  Minneapolis police officer has been arrested on murder charges. Similar protests have taken place in cities across the country, and may continue for days to come. If you are wondering how to support protesters with financial contributions to the anti-brutality movement, several verified organizations are accepting donations.

The organizations and fundraisers listed below are raising cash to go to bail assistance, providing food and basic aid, and to growing advocacy organizations dedicated to the cause. While bail deviation programs are still in effect in Los Angeles County as part of the COVID-19 response, not all of the hundreds of protestors arrested will qualify for those waivers, and other jurisdictions that have seen large-scale protests are not offering comparable programs at all.

Local

The Bail ProjectWith locations in Compton, Van Nuys, and San Diego, as well as offices or partnerships in cities from coast to coast, the Bail Project is one of the largest and most established bail funds.

Peoples City Council Freedom Fund: The L.A. activist group Peoples City Council stages protest actions on a variety of issues around social and economic justice. Recently, the local group has been lobbying for a city budget that reduces the share of public funds used to pay for the LAPD.

Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment: This grassroots organization aims to register voters and empower Californians to advocate and vote for economic, racial, and social justice.

Minnesota

George Floyd Memorial Fund: Established by the family of George Floyd, money raised by the memorial fund will be used to care for Floyd’s children, and to fund counseling, legal, and other essential services.

Black Visions Collective: A Black, trans, and queer-helmed organization in Minnesota, Black Visions Collective has been working to “pursue our commitment to dismantling systems of oppression and violence” since 2017. Right now, that means delivering supplies and support on the ground.

Reclaim the Block: This advocacy group in Minneapolis was established in 2018 with a goal of diverting city funds from the Minneapolis Police Department and into non-police programs that serve communities in need.

National 

Black Lives Matter: The national umbrella of the Black Lives Matter movement, donations to BLM go toward programs and actions across the country, focused on ending white supremacy and state-sanctioned violence.

Campaign Zero: Campaign Zero is a national advocacy organization that uses data-based research to inform policy solutions aimed at eliminating police violence.


RELATED: The LAPD Arrested 500 Protesters in DTLA on Friday Night


Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.

After a Night of Looting, Melrose Business Owners Survey the Damage

From periodic break-ins to the 1992 uprising to a prolonged shutdown resulting from a global pandemic, l.a.Eyeworks has weathered more than a few storms during its 40-plus years on Melrose Avenue. In advance of yesterday’s protests and the looting that followed, owner Gai Gherardi and her team prepared for the worst, moving the store’s inventory of glasses offsite. Alas, it didn’t keep looters from entering the store, but it did limit what they were able to make off with.

“All they took was a chair,” Gherardi explains over the whir of a drill as an employee puts up slabs of plywood. “No chaos was made in the store. It wasn’t violent or violated.”

Other businesses weren’t quite as lucky. Round Two, a vintage and resale store flanked by Buzzz R Us Smoke Shop and JapanLA, was completely cleaned out. A spray painted message on the boarded up front window informs would-be looters “store empty…nothing left.” Businesses from Fairfax to Larchmont Village were vandalized and cleared of what was inside.

By midmorning on Saturday, gawkers and helpers alike were out in force as cleanup efforts kicked off along Melrose, which was hard hit after last night’s protests against police violence gave way to vandalism and looting along the thoroughfare. The Los Angeles Times reports that looters were spotted ransacking the Adidas store at around 9:45 p.m. on Friday, but the area’s many mom-and-pop outposts weren’t spared, even ones that posted signs in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. A sign in the window of Stag Hair Parlor informs passersby that it’s minority owned; still its door was smashed and its inventory of hair products was taken from inside.

Volunteers carrying brooms and passing out supplies like bottled water were making their way up and down the street. A woman who identified herself as a Robertson Boulevard business owner stopped by storefronts offering croissants to people cleaning and boarding up. Amid the neighborly positivity, others betrayed an undercurrent of anger. One man, who was volunteering to sweep up glass outside affected businesses, asked not to be identified because “anything I say is not going to be good.” He and a companion had just cleaned up a nearby florist, padlocked the gate, and left a phone number so the owner could reach out for the combination.

melrose looting
Gai Gherardi outside l.a.Eyeworks

Gwynedd Stuart

Standing outside her boarded-up glasses store, Gherardi says she was genuinely moved by yesterday’s protest, which began peacefully as a Black Lives Matter rally in Pan-Pacific Park. “I was flooding with tears from the beauty of kids coming from every direction, it was incredible. And then it turned,” she says. “I really do not believe the intention at all…it’s just so unfortunate. I understand the agony, but this gets us nowhere.”

She says she feels for all her fellow small business owners who were impacted last night, but is confident they’ll rebound. “These stores here, these are family businesses for the most part and they’ve been hanging on by a thread through the coronavirus, and then this was a lot. It’s a gut punch,” she says. “But we’ve been through a lot and we’ll get through this. I know we will. There are some deep discussions to have and we have to stop with this ridiculous license to be racist that’s just unleashed something.”


RELATED: Protesters Met by Multitudes of Police in Downtown L.A. on Saturday Night


Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.

PHOTOS: Saturday’s Protests Began Peacefully in Pan-Pacific Park Before Tensions Mounted

By now we’ve all seen images of cop cars vandalized and burning near the intersection of Fairfax and 3rd Street as tensions between protesters and police reached a fever pitch, a situation that continued well into Saturday night as a curfew was imposed and the National Guard was called in by Mayor Eric Garcetti, and a state of emergency was declared by Governor Gavin Newsom.

Earlier in the day on Saturday, Black Lives Matter protesters gathered in Pan-Pacific Park to demonstrate. (Photos by Wayne Nathan)

As the day progressed, tensions between protesters and police mounted. Los Angeles reporter Samuel Braslow was grazed by a rubber bullet while observing the scene outside CBS Studios on 3rd Street. (Photos by Samuel Braslow)

 


RELATED: Protesters Met by Multitudes of Police in Downtown L.A. on Saturday Night


Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.

Protesters Met by Multitudes of Police in Downtown L.A. on Saturday Night

For most of Saturday afternoon, downtown Los Angeles felt eerily quiet. Few people were out, besides carpenters boarding up windows and security guards making their rounds. Following Friday night’s protests against police violence in the wake of the murder of Minneapolis man George Floyd, shattered glass still lined Figueroa Street, and building after building was tagged with messages like ACAB (“all cops are bastards”), FUCK THE POLICE, and FUCK12 (“12” being a reference to police).

On Friday, protests turned violent after the LAPD declared a nearly four-square-mile section of downtown an unlawful assembly area. As the police pushed protestors south along Spring Street from City Hall, people began smashing windows, looting stores, setting fires, and clashing with officers. “Things picked up around 9 or 10 p.m.,” a security guard at a construction site on 7th and Grand told Los Angeles. “There were too many people for the cops to do anything.”

A few blocks over, on Spring Street, carpenters boarded up the windows of Bolt Barbers and Buzz Wine, two shops that had been broken into and looted the night before. “We’ve been here since 4 a.m.,” a man told me at around 4:30 p.m. A block away at Living Room Vape & Smokeshop, which had also seen its windows smashed in, customers were lined up outside, entering one by one to make their purchases. “We’re going to close at 5:30, tonight,” the owner said. “I don’t want to be here by the curfew.” In response to the previous night’s unrest and actions in the Fairfax District on Saturday afternoon, Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered a citywide curfew that began at 8 p.m. on Saturday.

“I woke up to 30 missed calls from my security guard at 7 a.m.,” Aidan Nelson, co-founder of the Wonzimer art gallery at Pershing Square, said. Nelson had only left the gallery a few hours earlier, at 2 a.m. on Saturday morning. By 4 a.m., the door to his gallery had been smashed open, the front office looted of computers and projectors, and six paintings were stolen off the wall from the exhibition space in the back. At 6 a.m., when his security guard showed up, he found a man with a can of gasoline and a blowtorch attempting to burn down the building. “The security guard chased him off,” Nelson said, “and we’ve spent the day cleaning up and installing a gate” across the entrance.

Nelson said he called the police and attempted to file a report, but was handed off from one line to another, and eventually gave up. When two cops passed by the gallery, “they told me the best thing to do is just board up the place and get out of downtown.” As night approached on Saturday, Nelson wasn’t feeling optimistic about getting help from the police: “They’re not going to help.”

At 6 p.m. on Saturday evening, a procession of protesters drove south down Hill Street, honking their car horns and cheering loudly out of their windows. People began gathering along the sidewalk to watch the procession, cheer, and film them with their phones or raise a fist in solidarity. Then, at around 6:30 p.m., a large group of people marched south down Olive to Pershing Square and turned up Fifth Street toward the Central Library. The crowd was mostly young—teenagers, people in their 20s and 30s; only some wore masks.

“This is our first protest,” Veronica and Crystal, two of the protestors in the crowd, told me. “We are protesting to take down the whole racist system that is the basis of the U.S. Arresting one officer is not enough.” Another member of the group explained that they’d been an Mariachi Plaza, and had marched downtown.

Shortly after, police began to arrive, and the energy of the group of protesters changed instantly. At Flower Street, the group turned south as a wall of police began marching behind them in full riot gear.

The march continued down Flower until, suddenly, a second line of police cut them off at Eighth Street. The police fired a loud shot directly into the crowd, and many people scattered back up Flower. I spotted a man bleeding from a large gash in his shoulder; he explained to a person filming him that he’d been hit with a baton.

By 7 p.m., several helicopters circled overhead as bands of police played cat-and-mouse with groups of protestors, most of whom were peaceful, although a few bottles and rocks were thrown at officers.

From what I could tell, the police’s method of dealing with the crowds was to trail a group from behind, cut them off from the front, press in, and arrest everyone. In fact, I was caught in one such group. In front of Staples Center, at around 7:10 p.m., two lines of police pressed in on some 20 protestors. They fired rubber bullets into the group, but there was nowhere anyone could go. A few people tried to hop the barricades in front of LA Live to flee, but security guards immediately stopped them.

“Lay down!” one of the protestors instructed, so we all sat. Some panicked, others were silent as two lines of police marched at us, then arrested us one by one. We were placed along the curb, our hands bound with zip ties behind our backs, as we waited for about 30 minutes on a bus to come transport us to the Men’s Detention Center jail. “You’ve all been arrested for failure to disperse,” an officer explained. Ultimately, the bus never arrived, and just before 8 p.m. an officer gave the order to release us all. “You are being released, but if you are detained again, you will be arrested and sent to jail,” he said. Our zip ties were cut and we were sent on our way.

As the 8 p.m. curfew approached, police sirens, flash bangs, and blasts of rubber bullets could be heard throughout the streets. At Broadway and Fifth, the windows of a Rite-Aid were shattered and waves of looters rushed in. A column of police eventually arrived, and the looters scattered. A similar scene took place at the Urban Outfitters at Broadway and Eighth.

For the next few hours, skirmishes flared up around downtown, but by 11 p.m., the streets emptied. Helicopters circled, their lights searching for any remaining looters or groups in violation of curfew, but there was nearly no one to be found—only formations of police at key intersections standing still. Downtown returned to an eerie quiet.


RELATED: Mayor Garcetti Imposes a Citywide Curfew as Police Clash with Protesters in Fairfax


Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.