LAPD Chief On Friday's Violent Protests: 'I'm Sorry That LA Failed Tonight'
Downtown Los Angeles turned into a roving battle zone Friday night as protests against the Minneapolis killing of George Floyd exploded into violence and looting.
More than 200 people were arrested and six Los Angeles Police Department officers were injured in confrontations that ranged from LAPD headquarters and City Hall to the loft district along Spring Street to the Jewelry District and Figueroa Street.
Drug and jewelry stores were ransacked, as was a Starbucks at the corner of 6th and Spring, along with the Target store at the 7th and Fig marketplace.
Police set up skirmish lines throughout the downtown area and fired non-lethal ammunition as they pushed a crowd out of the area, with some protestors hiding behind vehicles to throw objects at officers.
A KPCC producer who lives downtown says he heard booming and shots fired until about 5:15 a.m. Saturday.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore told reporters Friday night:
"I'm sorry that L.A. failed tonight. Our ability to have a demonstration — express our views, our anger, our disgust — unfortunately turned into an unruly situation with officers being injured, property damage occurring."
Demonstrators initially gathered at 5 p.m. outside City Hall and marched south on Spring Street, then north on Figueroa Street.
Shortly before 7:30 p.m., a group of about 100 blocked traffic on the northbound 110 Freeway, near the James M. Wood Boulevard exit downtown. They were cleared from the freeway, but later re-entered near Fifth Street.
The LAPD ultimately declared an unlawful assembly over more than three square miles downtown, due to "repeated acts of violence and property damage."
Mayor Eric Garcetti sent a message on Twitter at 10 p.m., calling for calm: "We respect every Angeleno's right to protest, but violence and vandalism hurts all. Let's remember why we march, protect each other, and bring a peaceful end to a painful night."
Several more protests are planned for Saturday throughout Los Angeles County.