People took to the streets of Los Angeles on Saturday, May 31st for what began as a peaceful protest for the death of George Floyd, who died Monday after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by Minneapolis Police Department officer, Derek Chauvin.
The protest later became violent as protesters began attacking Los Angeles Police Department squad cars and setting them on fire. The protest turned riot, later made its way to affluent areas of Los Angeles including Rodeo Drive, Little Tokyo, Melrose Ave, and The Grove outdoor shopping mall.
Local businesses and shops around those areas were looted and/or set on fire during the riot prompting a mandatory curfew on the city Los Angeles and heavy police activity.
Caught by ABC 7 Action News, shows protesters breaking into well-known anime gift shop JapanLA on Melrose ave.
Dozens of looters entered the premises taking whatever they could find. According to a post by JapanLA:
“They [police] finally cleared them out and arrested some of the looters. We are all crushed and deeply saddened. Thank you for all the texts. We all left at 4:30pm and our staff is home safe. I’ll send more updates soon!” They released a security camera photo that shows two suspects looting the store.
In the past, we’ve covered a few events in this and their new Little Tokyo location.
A few shops and a pharmacy were broken into and looted in the early morning hours of May 30th, in the Little Tokyo district.
According to the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center,
“Businesses in Little Tokyo were looted last night. This was not done by protesters but by people who decided to take advantage of the grief and angst of others for their personal gain.”
Brian Kito of the Little Tokyo Public Safety Association expressed concern over the close proximity of Little Tokyo to City Hall and LAPD headquarters stating,
“[It] would leave [Little Tokyo] vulnerable during civil unrest. During the L.A. riots in 1992, windows were smashed at Japanese Village Plaza, Weller Court, and what was then the New Otani Hotel on Los Angeles Street.”
Gov. Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency for Los Angeles after approving Mayor Eric Garcetti’s request to deploy the National Guard. National Guard arrived at 12am on May 31st, 2020.
Los Angeles’ curfew will stay in place from 8 p.m. Saturday through 5 a.m. Sunday.