The death of 46-year-old Minneapolis-resident George Floyd has sent ripples of protests calling for action against police brutality in not only Minnesota, but all over the country.
Cities have seen moments of peace and violence since Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, and two additional officers pinned a handcuffed Floyd to the ground during an arrest, killing him on Monday, May 25. A now viral video shows Chauvin’s knee remained on Floyd’s neck for several minutes.
Floyd can be heard saying, “I can’t breathe,” throughout the video, sparking inspiration for signs and shirts of protesters nationally. Protests have been the hallmark of conversation surrounding police brutality and abuse but also a catalyst for looters and rioters.
In the several days of protest, at least five people have died in protest related deaths and countless others injured. A 22-year-old Black protestor named James Scurlock died after being shot and killed by a bar owner in Omaha, Nebraska Saturday night. According to the Omaha World-Herald, the owner, Jake Gardner acted in self-defense and will not be charged.
Clashes with police officers and protesters have resulted in thousands of arrests in numerous cities. As of Monday, June 1 protests continue nationwide, President Trump condemning the violent actions from the Rose Garden as “domestic acts of terror.”
“If a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them,” Trump said.
Below is a timeline of events in the Los Angeles area sparked by the death of Floyd.
Tuesday, May 26
One day after Floyd’s death, the video widely circulated on social media, sparking outrage. According to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, all four officers involved were fired. Frey apologized to the Black community in a statement posted to his Facebook page.
“Being Black in America should not be a death sentence. For five minutes, we watched a white officer press his knee into a Black man’s neck. Five minutes. When you hear someone calling for help, you’re supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic, human sense,” Frey said.
Many celebrities reacted to the death publicly, rapper and actor Ice Cube tweeting, “How long will we go for Blue on Black Crime before we strike back???”
Demonstrations began in Minneapolis as protestors marched near the intersection where Floyd died. Protestors carrying signs with the phrase “I can’t breathe” walked around 2 miles to a police precinct, some buildings and cars being damaged and vandalized along the way.
Protestors eventually clashed with police officers in riot gear and were sprayed with tear gas and shot at with rubber bullets.
Wednesday, May 27
LAPD Chief Michel Moore denounced the death of Floyd in a tweeted statement on Wednesday.
“The lack of compassion, use of excessive force, or going beyond the scope of the law, doesn’t just tarnish our badge – it tears at the very fabric of race relations in this country,” Moore said. “Knowing that we have experienced our own high profile incidents here in Los Angeles, I can assure you the LAPD strives each day to build trust and these events are sobering reminders of how quickly that can be lost.”
Protests continued in Minneapolis and other cities began to assemble their own demonstrations. News coverage captured protestors in the downtown area and later a separate group of demonstrators blocked the 101 Freeway, halting traffic.
The official LAPD Twitter account tweeted, “We will always facilitate freedom of speech. Period. All we ask is that protests are held in a safe and legal manner.”
Thursday, May 28
Growing vandalism and property damage in Minnesota caused Gov. Tim Walz to mobilize the National Guard on Thursday.
“Let’s be very clear,” Walz said during a press conference. “The situation in Minneapolis, is no longer, in any way, about the murder of George Floyd. It is about attacking civil society, instilling fear and disrupting our great cities.”
In Los Angeles, protestors again gathered in the city’s downtown area in front of the LAPD headquarters. Los Angeles Daily News reported that protestors later left, walking until they were blocked by police at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Third Street. Police ordered the crowd to leave and deemed the gathering an unlawful assembly.
Friday, May 29
Four days after Floyd’s death, Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Gov. Gavin Newsom released a video statement to his Twitter account captioned, “When will it end?”
He went on to say that “structural racism in our society persists. Our incapacity to wake up to that reality continues.”
LA protestors once again took to the 110 Freeway to protest Floyd’s death, cases of looting and vandalism also reported. Multiple businesses including jewelry and grocery stores were broken into, their merchandise looted.
Chief Moore told reporters that “L.A. failed tonight” after more than 500 people were arrested.
Trump extended his help to Walz’s in the form of military intervention and tweeted that “THUGS” were harming the message of the protests.
“Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” Trump said in the tweet. The tweet was later flagged by Twitter on account that it violated its glorifying violence rule. Subsequently, the tweet remains accessible for viewers to see but has a warning attached to it.
Saturday, May 30
As protests demanding justice continued, the nonprofit initiative BLD PWR (pronounced “Build Power”) organized a peaceful protest at Pan Pacific Park next to the Grove shopping center. Protestors marched for miles, chanting phrases including, “No justice, no peace” and “Black lives matter.”
After the original protesting group separated, tensions increased as a separate group of protestors encountered police officers preventing them from moving forward. Shortly after looters ransacked Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a citywide curfew from 8 p.m. Saturday to 5:30 a.m. Sunday, a push notification going to residents’ phones at around 7 p.m. Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Pasadena and Culver City all followed with similar curfews.
Newsom declared a state of emergency in California and allowed assistance in Los Angeles from the National Guard.
Sunday, May 31
Reeling from the events of the previous night, National Guard soldiers roamed the streets of Downtown L.A. Sunday morning.
The peaceful protests in Santa Monica were overshadowed by looters stealing merchandise from stores on the Third Street Promenade. Several buildings, cars and one dumpster were set on fire.
The city of Santa Monica enforced a citywide curfew effective from 4 p.m. Sunday through 5:30 a.m. Monday. A similar situation of unrest and looting was taking place in Long Beach prompting a curfew from 8 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday.
Los Angeles’s curfew was moved up from 8 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through 6 a.m. Monday.
Monday, June 1
For the sixth night in a row, protests continued in Southern California. Protests spawned in multiple cities including Westwood, Hollywood, West Hollywood and Downtown L.A.
A confusing series of cell phone alerts originally noted a countywide curfew of 5 p.m. Monday evening but was later corrected to 6 p.m. Protests in Downtown L.A. remained peaceful and were monitored by National Guard troops.
During a news conference Moore made a remark accusing people’s use of violence as being responsible for Floyd’s death.
“We didn’t have people mourning the death of this man, George Floyd, we had people capitalizing,” Moore said. “His death is on their hands as much as it is those officers.”
Moore apologized minutes later and said that he “misspoke when I said his blood is on their hands.”
In a sequence of tweets Monday night, Moore reiterated his apology and reprimanded the police officers involved in Floyd’s death.
“Let me be clear: the police officers involved were responsible for the death of George Floyd,” Moore said.