Thousands thronged the streets of Los Angeles in peaceful protests Tuesday and smaller demonstrations dotted California while authorities renewed overnight curfews in LA and other areas that have seen clashes with police and groups of thieves wreck hundreds of businesses.
There were several sizable demonstrations in Los Angeles and Mayor Eric Garcetti took a knee at one while in a crowd outside police headquarters. However, later in the day, hundreds gathered outside Garcetti’s house and protested.
Elsewhere in the city, police cordons backed by National Guard troops kept a tight watch on marchers in Hollywood, where hundreds were arrested the previous day, and at a crowd of thousands at City Hall.
Police later detained dozens of people accused of refusing to disperse several hours after the city’s 6 p.m. curfew took effect.
In San Francisco, a mass of people marched up the Great Highway along San Francisco’s Ocean Beach while at San Jose’s City Hall several hundred people showed up for a demonstration and speeches organized by the local branch of the NAACP.
San Francisco Police Chief William Scott asked supervisors Tuesday to keep an overnight curfew order for at least the “next few days” to get ahead of people bent on using peaceful protests to pilfer stores and commit violence. Supervisors talked about the request and scheduled more discussion for Thursday. Mayor London Breed ordered the 8 p.m. curfew Sunday following a night of thefts downtown, including at a major shopping mall where several fires were set.
Scott said the burglars are highly organized, with vehicles waiting to ferry away people rushing out of stores with armloads of goods. He said San Francisco will be overwhelmed if it revokes its curfew while neighboring cities and counties keep theirs.
Oakland Police Deputy Chief Leronne Armstrong said more than 60 people were cited and released Monday for violating a curfew order. Those cited were among about 1,000 people that stayed in downtown Oakland after a peaceful demonstration that attracted 15,000.
He said Tuesday those who stayed started throwing rocks and bottles at police officers, who used tear gas on the crowd.
Oakland’s interim police chief, Susan Manheimer, asked for anyone with video or other information on a shooting during Friday night’s protest that left a federal officer dead and another injured. The victims were guarding the U.S. courthouse.
She said investigators believe the assailants were targeting law enforcement.
“They were out and about in the area where our officers and others were stationed and ultimately came upon these two individuals who were in a more secluded area,” she said.
The protests around California began after George Floyd, a black man, died May 25 when a white Minneapolis officer knelt on his neck for nearly 10 minutes.
The demonstrations intensified and turned violent in Los Angeles and some other California cities on Friday night and continued during the weekend. While the vast majority of demonstrators were peaceful, some in the gatherings threw rocks and other objects at police, and set fire to police vehicles. Police used flash-bang devices, rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse crowds.
Garcetti imposed a curfew Saturday night for downtown Los Angeles that later was extended to the surrounding county of 10 million people and asked for the National Guard. More than 1,000 troops started arriving Sunday, and Monday night was significantly calmer.
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said 2,700 people had been arrested since protests began last week, all but 200 of them for violating curfew or failing to disperse. The other arrests involved burglary, theft, assaults on police officers and attempted murder, Moore told the civilian Police Commission on Tuesday.
The oversight panel held a virtual meeting and members of the public called in saying Moore should be fired or resign over remarks he made a day earlier.
Moore said Monday that people “capitalizing” on the protests to commit violence had as much responsibility for the death of George Floyd as the Minneapolis police officers who were fired. He later apologized and said he “misspoke when I said his blood is on their hands″ and didn’t mean to compare looting to murder.
On Tuesday, thousands of people gathered at LAPD headquarters. Some police officers took a knee with clergy-led demonstrators who urged everyone to heed the call of Floyd’s family for people to protest peacefully.
Garcetti also took a knee. As demonstrators yelled that the police budget should be cut, the mayor told demonstrators: “I hear you. I hear what you are saying about the police.”
Thousands more, many clad in black, marched through the famous intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine.
Aijshia Moody, 30, held a cardboard sign that said: “Am I next?”
Her brother is 14 and often has dealt with racial profiling in their Pacoima neighborhood, Moody told the Los Angeles Times.
“He can’t even get on his skateboard. That’s why I’m here,” she said.
Rapper YG promoted the protest, writing on social media “no looting allowed” but later said he wouldn’t take part in the demonstration because he was told that “my protest was not safe and that people could get hurt or shot.”