California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles County and city on Saturday night in response to protests that turned violent over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Protesters looted businesses and clashed with LAPD officers across the city, prompting Mayor Eric Garcetti to announce on social media that the National Guard would be brought in to assist law enforcement.
“The California National Guard is being deployed to Los Angeles overnight to support our local response to maintain peace and safety on the streets of our city,” Garcetti tweeted Saturday at 8:29 p.m.
Earlier in the day, Garcetti ordered a citywide curfew from 8 p.m. Saturday to 5:30 a.m. Sunday as the unrest raged for a fourth day.
Protesters faced down officers outside the Farmer’s Market near the Grove, a high-end outdoor mall in the Fairfax District, after taking over the busy intersection of Third Street and Fairfax Avenue. According to ABC7-TV, a kiosk for the LAPD at the Grove was set on fire.
Video carried on local TV stations showed small retail businesses along Melrose Avenue being looted, just days after they were given the green light to reopen following coronavirus closures.
At nearby Pan Pacific Park, actor Kendrick Sampson of the HBO series Insecure was struck by rubber bullets as police tried to disperse a large crowd of protesters.
Sampson posted several videos on his Instagram page of the protest and clashes. In one video, LAPD officers fired rubber bullets to try and regain control around the park.
“They shot me four times already. I already got hurt and I got hit with a baton,” Sampson said.
As the sun set, looters hit a Target store in the Beverly Grove shopping center. They also set fire to police cars and retail shops.
At a news conference Saturday, Garcetti spoke of George Floyd and other African Americans recently killed by police officers, but he said violent protests are not the answer.
“When the violence escalates, no one wins,” Garcetti stated. “I’m asking all of Los Angeles to take a deep breath and to step back.”
In Beverly Hills, demonstrators took over Rodeo Drive and sat in the middle of the street. Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Pasadena, Culver City and Santa Monica — all in Los Angeles County — imposed curfews as the protests spread.
George Floyd, who was African American, died on May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer held him down with a knee on his neck.
Video recorded by an onlooker showed Floyd pleading “I can’t breathe,” while officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, continued to apply pressure to his neck.
Chauvin was fired on Tuesday, and taken into custody Friday. He’s been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other officers at the scene were fired, but have not been arrested.