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Long Beach Calls In National Guard To Help Address Looting, Vandalism

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National Guard troops are being deployed to Long Beach to assist local law enforcement as looting and vandalism have sprung up amid ongoing protests, Mayor Robert Garcia said tonight.

The protests were triggered in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, ignoring the man's pleas and cries of "I can't breathe."

Up to now, the protests in Long Beach had been peaceful, Garcia said, but today was a different story. He noted that many of the businesses that have been vandalized or looted were small, mostly minority-owned mom-and-pop shops.

"What I saw tonight, and the type of vandalizing that was happening was unacceptable. I saw the Kress Market, a small mom-and-pop grocery store, owned by two hardworking immigrants that came to this country, that put everything they had into their small bodega and market — I saw that being attacked tonight."

Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna said at least seven or eight businesses had been looted. Garcia said the city is still assessing the damage and hopes to have a report by tomorrow.

You can watch the full address from Garcia, Luna, and city manager Tom Modica, in the video above.

MORE COVERAGE ON TODAY'S PROTESTS:

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Day 5 Of Protests: Follow Our Live Coverage

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Protesters chant and raise their fists while blocking traffic on a street corner in Santa Monica, Calif., Sunday, May 31, 2020, over the death of George Floyd. (Richard Vogel/AP)

Protests are cropping up across Los Angeles and neighboring cities for a fifth day, with some people grieving and others raging over the death of George Floyd after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Crowds have gathered and marched in Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles, and more protests and vigils are planned around the county. Cities have ordered curfews in an attempt to tamp down on the looting and vandalism that has happened over the past couple of nights.

In Santa Monica, KPCC/LAist visual journalist Chava Sanchez reported that at approximately 5:20 p.m., the protests escalated as fully militarized police arrived, in response to looting. A jewelry store was set on fire and a tank began dispersing protesters with at least one water cannon. “In a matter of minutes everybody was cleared,” he told KPCC's A Martinez.

Reporter Emily Guerin, also in Santa Monica, said vandalism, and the conflicts between police and protesters, were sporadic. It's like wildfires, she said. "There’s a hot spot somewhere and then it gets put out and then it flares up somewhere else.”

From Long Beach, reporter Adolfo Guzman-Lopez told Martinez it’s been a "rollercoaster" where he stood on 3rd St. and Pine Ave., where about 200 people kneeled on one knee as they faced about two dozen police officers in riot gear.

Guzman-Lopez said that nearby, people broke into a men’s shop, just out of sight of police officers. Eventually police were alerted; they arrived at the scene and fired rubber bullets. However, Guzman-Lopez said, "Right now it’s peaceful."

In downtown L.A. KPCC/LAist's Robert Garrova reported seeing military vehicles at LAPD headquarters and a mix of vendors, protesters and even joggers on the streets.

A countywide curfew is in effect as of 6 p.m. this evening until 6 a.m. Monday.

This is a developing story, and we'll bring you updates into the night.

FOLLOW OUR LIVE UPDATES:

L.A. County Confirms 1,379 New Cases Of Coronavirus, 25 New Deaths

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Courtesy Los Angeles Department of Transportation

L.A. County public health officials have confirmed 1,379 new cases of the coronavirus and 25 new deaths, bringing the total in the region to 55,001 positive cases and 2,362 deaths. Of those who died:

  • 15 were over the age of 65
  • 8 were between the ages of 41 to 65
  • 1 was between the ages of 18 to 40

Among those who have died in L.A. County, 93% had underlying health conditions. Information about race and ethnicity is available for 99% of people who have died:

  • 12% African American [9% of county residents]
  • 18% Asian [15.4% of county residents]
  • 41% Latino / Latina [48.6% of county residents]
  • 28% White [26.1% of county residents]
  • 1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander [0.4% of county residents]
  • 1% identified as belonging to a different race or ethnicity

As of today, 12% of people who have tested positive for the virus have been hospitalized. Testing capacity continues to increase in the region, with testing results available for nearly 598,000 individuals and approximately 8% of tests coming back positive.

“Through these difficult times, we mourn with all of you who have lost someone you love to COVID-19. We are deeply sorry for your loss, and wish you healing and peace,” said Barbara Ferrer, the county’s director of public health. “If you are returning to work or are visiting re-opened spaces and businesses, please remember that the actions we all take today will affect the numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths several weeks from now. This virus has not changed and is still easily transmitted among people in contact with each other."

State officials have set a variety of metrics counties need to hit to move forward with additional phases of reopening. These include:

  • No more than a 5% increase in hospitalizations over seven days
  • And EITHER less than 25 coronavirus positives per 100,000 residents
  • OR less than 8% positive tests

MORE ON CORONAVIRUS:

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Here Are The COVID-19 Testing Sites That Are Still Open

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A sign guides drivers to the entrance of a drive through COVID-19 test site in Crenshaw. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Some L.A. city and county-run COVID-19 testing sites were closed Sunday, including at the MLK Medical Center. The county tweeted Sunday afternoon that the following sites are still open for testing: San Gabriel Valley Airport, South Bay Galleria, Pomona Fairplex, Long Beach City College, and East Los Angeles College.

LA County Department of Health Services has encouraged each site to determine if it is in the best interest of both patient and staff safety to stay open given the current State of Emergency Order in LA County.

— Los Angeles County (@CountyofLA) May 31, 2020

Dodger Stadium, the largest testing site in the county, will be open tomorrow, along with the walk-up location in South L.A., said L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.

READ MORE:

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'Skid Row Pastor' Explains The Depth Of The Anger Felt By Protesters

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LAPD officers confront protestors at a Black Lives Matter protest following the death of George Floyd on May 30, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

As L.A. heads into its fifth day of protests, Stephen “Cue” Jn-Marie – a.k.a. The Skid Row pastor – says that the uprising isn’t only about police brutality.

"George Floyd was the spark, but this crowd was protesting more than just the death, the murder of George Floyd. They were protesting income inequality, capitalism. That's why you're seeing them burning stuff. Student loans, all of this. Health care. Most of the crowd were between 16 and 35. So the young people in America are saying, ‘We are done. We are finished.’"

Speaking to KPCC’s Libby Denkmann, Jn-Marie added that the presence of the National Guard at the L.A. protests seems like it launched a vicious cycle.

“I feel like the same violence we’re denouncing is the same violence we’re using to try to stop violence.”

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The Choice To Demonstrate In Upscale Areas Was No Accident

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Demonstrators march in the Fairfax District on May 30 (Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images)

We talked to Black Lives Matter-LA organizer Melina Abdullah, who is also a Pan-African studies professor at Cal State Los Angeles, about Saturday's protest and aftermath.

She told us to the choice to demonstrate in upscale areas was no accident.

"We've been very deliberate in saying that the violence and pain and hurt that's experienced on a daily basis by black folks at the hands of a repressive system should also be visited upon to a degree to those who think that they can just retreat to white affluence."

READ OUR FULL STORY

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Garcetti Extends Curfew Another Night Following Saturday's Violence

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has extended a citywide curfew for another night following escalating violence Saturday.

Garcetti made the announcement in a remote address to an angry, heartbroken city following a fourth day of protests tied to the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes over the man's cries for mercy.

The curfew will last from 8 p.m. Sunday to 5:30 a.m. Monday, and comes as National Guard troops arrive in the city to support local law enforcement.

"When times demand it, strong steps are required to bring peace back to our city, which is why I enacted, as heavy a decision as it was, a citywide curfew," Garcetti said.

Protests began peacefully on Saturday, but tensions boiled over amid heavy police presence and a declaration of unlawful assembly at Pan Pacific Park near the Fairfax District. By the end of the night, stores were looted, vehicles burned, and both civilians and officers had been injured, with police firing nonlethal projectiles and deploying tear gas.

Police Chief Michel Moore said LAPD's entire organization was called on duty for the first time in more than 30 years.

Moore also said the curfew allowed police to more easily identify "caravans" of individuals who were moving from one location to another to loot businesses.

Moore said he had seen protests with 500,000 people in L.A. that did not result in violence or looting, and he and Garcetti asked protesters to help prevent things from escalating.

DASH and Metro routes were canceled last night to protect their staff, Garcetti said.

As of today, the DASH service has been restored, and reimbursements for Metro riders who were stranded will be issued. Garcetti said you can call 323-Go-Metro or email customerrelations@metro.net for more information.

COVID-19 testing locations were similarly closed yesterday after staff had expressed concern for their own safety and asked to go home early, Garcetti said. Some of those centers will remain closed tomorrow.

But Dodger Stadium, the largest testing site in the county, will be open tomorrow, along with the walk-up location in South L.A., Garcetti said. He encouraged people with appointments to keep them and said people who want a test should go ahead and schedule one, though new appointments may be pushed back a day or two.

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'Almost All Of The People Who Were Out On The Streets... Did Absolutely Nothing Wrong'

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(Josie Huang/LAist)

LA City Councilman Mike Bonin told us this morning:

'There were the peaceful protests that were out in the street demanding justice, demanding an end to racism and violence against black men and an end to systemic racism embedded into so many systems in a country: health care and education, finance, housing.'

And then there were these acts of violence and the acts of violence were repugnant. And we need to have a period of inquiry and reckoning to find out who was behind it.'

Bonin went on to say "almost all of the people who were out on the streets yesterday —and I know many of them were there peacefully and peaceably — did absolutely nothing wrong."

READ THE FULL STORY:

Morning Briefing: A Tough Day On LA's Streets

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A sign at Saturday May 30th's Protest reads "Care Not Cops." (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

We'll keep it simple. Saturday was a crazy day. Our reporter, Josie Huang, kept her video running even when she saw a gun (with rubber bullets) pointed straight at her:

Our photojournalist, Chava Sanchez, got hit by tear gas. Twice:

Another journalist, who has written for LAist reported:


Coming Up:

More of the same. We will be back out there Sunday, telling you what's going on in Los Angeles.


The Past 24 Hours In LA

And here is the top story we reported yesterday:

Anger On L.A. Streets: Our reporters were out in the city Saturday, documenting what they saw as protesters took a stand against the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and police brutality in general.

As in previous days of protests, tension escalated. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti expanded his 8 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. curfew from just downtown to citywide.

And within hours of saying he didn't need the help of the National Guard, Garcetti asked the governor for its help.

Photos From The Scene: When our photojournalist Chava Sanchez clocked in yesterday, he was ready for a tough day. And while the weekend protests started peacefully, they itensified.

MORE ON LA PROTESTS

In Other News

Takeoff: Numerous people (some of whom we know) expressed the feeling that it was a pretty good day to leave the planet. So kudos to the astronauts who did just that.

ICE COVID-19 Case: An immigrant detainee at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center in San Bernardino County has tested positive for COVID-19. It’s the first reported case of a detainee at the facility.

Oh, Right: COVID-19: L.A. County officials reported another 2,112 cases of COVID-19 and 48 additional deaths, bringing the county's totals to 53,651 cases and 2,338 fatalities. Authorities said the 2,112 cases are, in part, due to a backlog of test results being processed and also a new lab beginning to report results. The city has temporarily closed all its testing centers because of the unrest.

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Your Moment Of Zen

(Aaron Mendelson / LAist)

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