'Righteous Anger.' LA Weighs In On Another Day Of Protests
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Unrest continues in Los Angeles as peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis turned violent, with looting and arson in both downtown Los Angeles and the Fairfax District. Protests also occurred in Beverly Hills and on the 101 freeway in the Silver Lake area.
Our newsroom's public affairs show, AirTalk, on KPCC 89.3 FM, aired a special broadcast Saturday night, inviting Angelenos to call and share their perspectives on today's events.
"We're tired," said Reverend Najuma Smith-Pollard, who founded the Word of Encouragement Community Church told host Larry Mantle. "I'm tired of the hashtag 'rest in power, this person's son,' 'rest in power, this person's daughter.'"
She said: "We want to live in power."
Earlier Saturday, at a midday rally in Pan Pacific Park, Melina Abdullah, co-founder of the L.A. chapter of Black Lives Matter, said, "We can mourn, we can be in pain but we can also be enraged. We have a right to our rage. We have a right to our rage and them arresting one officer and then saying that's justice, that s**t doesn't settle well with me. And it's about those four officers who killed George but it's about all these officers including the ones who are standing in our midst."
Many people who called in told Mantle that they had attended today's Fairfax District protest and it was largely peaceful.
"We protested there peacefully and as the group started to move, we just moved with the flow of the group," a woman named Olivia said.
She said the protestors met a "skirmish line" of law enforcement officers near the Farmers Market by the Grove. "We marched on, and what I saw was the majority of people -- I want to say 90% -- were very peaceful. Marching. Chanting. Cars on the road were doing the same, honking their horns. And it wasn't 'til towards the end that we did start to see smashed windows and some looting."
She said that's when she and her friends left the protest.
"The protests that I was at on Beverly was peaceful from about 1 to 3 p.m., until the police showed up," Ciara, a resident of Highland Park, called in to say.
Albert, who lives in the Pan Pacific Park area, wrote in to say, "Some of it was a protest but there was a lot of looting and destruction. They broke into the Apple store at the Grove then Nordstrom, and it was true chaos."
Drew from Van Nuys, who was at the Fairfax protests, said, "There was righteous anger. People were very angry. I was very angry. There are also people using that anger as [a] cover... But the vast, vast majority of people were not only being peaceful but trying to keep the peace."
Drew said he saw a few people in the crowd who "seemed separate from the protesters, that seemed to be there just to cause property damage." He said that at least twice, he saw someone start to cause physical damage to property only to be stopped by protestors.
"I have to imagine that there's a group of people out there that are just looking to cause property damage. That's why they are there, they're using this protest as cover," Drew said.
On the phone with my friend who just fled the once peaceful protest at 3rd and Fairfax.— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) May 30, 2020
She said she SAW a non-black person pull out a hammer and start attacking a police car.
The black people gathered yelled at her to stop.
The group with her set that police car on fire.
Ciara from Highland Park said that after leaving the Fairfax protest, she went to the protest on the 101 freeway where, "We hit a line of cops straight across from the freeway. And honestly, I just saw a line of people with pure hatred in their eyes and it was intimidating. It took a lot of effort to just get them to see the humanity and the people that were fighting for justice."
She said it was "almost a miracle" when the tension finally calmed down and protestors safely exited the freeway "with minimal confrontation" although she says the police were hitting us with batons and pushing quite a bit."
At least three businesses on Fairfax Ave. were damaged and a fire broke out at an LAPD kiosk at the Grove around 7 p.m. One caller said many of the stores on 3rd Ave. starting in the area near Cedars-Sinai Hospital had been damaged and looted.
"I want to encourage those who have the message of systemic change, those who have the message of speaking truth to power and addressing racial injustice, that message has to go forward," Rev. Smith-Pollard said. "That message has to be promoted."
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