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Morning Brief: LA’s Inauguration Security Plan

The Los Angeles Police Department headquarters is located in downtown LA. (Andrew Cullen for LAist)
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Good morning, L.A.

In the days following the storming of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., the FBI released a memo detailing plans for armed protests in all 50 states leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

So far this week, those uprisings haven’t materialized — including in Sacramento, where members of the National Guard have been stationed since last week — but local law enforcement is nevertheless amping up security for today’s events in Washington.

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced yesterday that Los Angeles Police Department officers will be out in increased numbers, and that 200 California National Guard troops are on standby.

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“Should acts of vandalism or violence take place, we will take immediate action," said LAPD Chief Michel Moore at the same press conference.

The plans were made, in part, with the benefit of hindsight. The rioters who violently tore down barricades, broke windows and threatened lawmakers in D.C. on June 6 had been planning, quite publicly, for weeks. The event even had its own name and website: the Wild Protest. (The site has since been taken down.)

But top law enforcement officials at the House, Senate and Pentagon repeatedly rejected requests for backup from the National Guard that day, and requests made by the Capitol Police in the days leading up to the riot were allegedly not conveyed to those who could have approved the entreaty.

Since that day, many activists, journalists and experts have compared law enforcement’s actions at the Capitol riot to their response to Black Lives Matter protests, which were often flooded with members of the National Guard. L.A. saw that response firsthand, when guardsmen blanketed downtown during protests against systemic racism and police brutality.

Police also frequently appeared in riot gear, and used methods of force called “less lethal” in police parlance, but which can still kill, blind or maim victims. Journalists with our organization were, at times, on the receiving end.

It remains to be seen how law enforcement — and protesters — will behave throughout today’s events.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • From fear to misinformation to denial, the way humans respond to plagues hasn't changed much in the past couple of centuries.
  • In South L.A., gang interventionists are trying to slow a dramatic spike in gun violence.
  • Students have been more engaged in civics education in the wake of racial reckonings, the siege at the Capitol and Trump’s second impeachment.
  • A Red Flag Warning is in effect today for much of Southern California because of strong Santa Ana winds, moderately low humidity, and very dry plants and grasses.
  • The Long Beach Convention Center parking lot — known locally as the "Elephant Lot" — is open as a mass COVID-19 vaccination site.
  • California's COVID-19 positivity rate and hospitalizations are finally going down following a holiday surge.
  • Vaccine appointments are open for residents age 65 and older — pending availability.

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Before You Go … Here’s What To Do This Week

Viggo Mortensen and Lance Henriksen talk about their new film, 'Falling,' which Mortensen also directed. (Courtesy of Perceval Pictures)

Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve turned our former weekly events column into a non-events column; in other words, a list of visual and/or socially distanced activities. We’ll keep it this way as long as social distancing and stay-at-home orders are in effect.

This week, some of the activities on our radar include watching Groundlings' storytellers reveal deep, dark and hilarious secrets, celebrating the women-owned restaurants with a takeout food fest, and viewing photos created during The Year of Not Knowing. Check out those events, and more.

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The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft, and for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter,Facebook and Instagram.

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