Less than two days after a white Minneapolis police officer is caught on video killing George Floyd, an unarmed African American man, by kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes, protesters took to the streets, calling for justice and the abolishment of police departments nationwide. Over the past 12 days, protesters and journalists have experienced pushback from law enforcement and government officials, even as instances of police brutality and escalation tactics have been documented and shared widely online.
Here, we have tried to organize the order of events that have taken place throughout L.A. County and neighboring communities.
May 25 — Monday
George Floyd is killed at the hands of Minneapolis police officers while gasping for air and calling out for his dead mother. A bystander captures his death on video.
Protests kick in around the nation, including downtown L.A., where a group halted traffic on the 101 Freeway near Union Station. Two California Highway Patrol vehicles show up, one has its back window broken by a skateboard, the other by a large piece of wood. One of the protesters is hurt later that night.
Protests happen across L.A., including in Santa Ana where police were allegedly targeted with mortars. Authorities arrest Jon Paul Worden. Upon searching his home, they find four AR-15s, a short-barreled shotgun, three handguns, thousands of rounds of ammunition, several high-capacity magazines, bulletproof and load-bearing tactical vests and more than 600 pounds of illegal fireworks — and mortars.
NBA great Michael Jordan issues a statement saying: “I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry. I see and feel everyone’s pain, outrage and frustration. I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough.”
Gregory Wong of Gardena is arrested in DTLA for impersonating an active National Guardsman and carrying several weapons including an assault rifle. Wong was formerly in the Guard and was spotted exiting an Uber by a current guardsman who correctly suspected fishy behavior.
In Van Nuys, owners of a liquor store brandish weapons and, with the help of some customers, stop would-be looters from breaking into a gold store. When the LAPD arrives, they handcuff one of the helpful customers, a black woman, over the protests of a news reporter while live on TV.
The mayor of Temecula sends out an email saying he doesn’t “believe there’s ever been a good person of color killed by a police officer” locally. He later apologizes, saying he had dictated the message and did not proofread it. Then, on June 4, he resigns.
L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey says 61 people have been charged with crimes committed during civil unrest over the past several days. A majority of the charges stem from looting, while other charges involve assault and/or battery on a peace officer, robbery, burglary, possession of a destructive device, identity theft or receiving stolen property.
News outlets are criticized for being hyper-focused on the salacious aspects of the uprising. Despite the fact that the majority of the protests have been peaceful while police violence has been widespread and at times shocking if not illegal, media agencies like the L.A. Times have zeroed in on the looting. Currently, there are 100 pieces alone that mention looting.
The Santa Monica Police Department arrests David Brown, a 59-year-old black resident of Santa Monica, who has lived in the city since high school. They handcuffed him at a protest rally, drove him into L.A. city limits and told him not to come back to Santa Monica.
Jamie McBride, director of the L.A. Police Protective League, took issue with what Mayor Eric Garcetti said Thursday at First AME Church, and his proposed cuts to the LAPD’s $3 billion budget: “We’re here to warn the citizens and residents of Los Angeles that we’re worried and concerned about Eric Garcetti. He’s clearly unstable. We are worried about him and worried about his future, and the safety of our citizens. He is more interested in his image and how he’s looked upon, as opposed to being a leader in difficult times.”
Michael Jordan pledges to donate $100 million over ten years for social justice. “If I’m giving $100 million, along with Jordan Brand, then we’re going to make this go in a way that makes a difference. And this — attacking ingrained racism, supporting educational opportunity — is a very necessary step in society.”
Peaceful protests take place all over L.A., including Beverly Hills:
June 7 — Sunday
An estimated 50,000 protesters show up in Hollywood and march, dance and sing around Hollywood & Highland. More than a week after the first protests in L.A., this march is considered the largest one to date.
Thousands of marchers gather in Compton where the Compton Cowboys lead a “Peace Ride.” Later, NBA stars Russell Westbrook — who grew up in Long Beach — and DeMar DeRozan — who is a Compton native — speak to the crowd.
Up in Santa Barbara, a march takes place on State Street:
June 8 — Monday
“City Hall is lit crimson and gold tonight in memory of George Floyd. We’re joining cities across America in mourning the loss of a man murdered before our eyes.” — Mayor Eric Garcetti
Defunding the LAPD does not mean abolishing it. For most, it means spreading its budget around to other organizations that can best utilize the funds for the public good. Today, the L.A. Times‘ Editorial Board wrote that this is the right time to re-evaluate the department’s bloated budget: The protests have rightly put the spotlight on policing. But reform should go deeper than simply cutting the LAPD budget this year, or paying for more officer training and body cameras. Although there’s nothing more important than public safety to a community’s well-being and prosperity, for too long the city’s leaders have treated the LAPD as the answer to all public safety problems. It’s time to rethink how we can make the city safer for all its residents.
District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who has been criticized for being too easy on police, files charges against the LAPD officer who was seen on camera repeatedly punching an unarmed man in April (pictured below).
More than 100 people protest in Burbank. “Of course some people are treating it like Coachella and there’s nothing we can do about that,” said protest organizer Benjamin Abiola. “But we want to make sure that those in attendance know why we’re out here.”
CrossFit CEO and founder Greg Glassman tells gym owners on a private Zoom call: “We’re not mourning for George Floyd… Can you tell me why I should mourn for him? Other than that it’s the white thing to do — other than that, give me another reason.” Glassman said this in response to a Minneapolis gym owner who questioned why the brand hadn’t posted a statement about the protests across the country after the death of George Floyd. Today, shortly after the publication of the leaked call to Buzzfeed News, the company released a statement from Glassman saying that he had “decided to retire” and was stepping down as CEO.
The Clippers produce this slam dunk:
Santa Monica PD and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives partner up to offer a $5K reward for the Sake House arson suspects. Anyone with information is encouraged to call Detective D. Chabot at (310) 458-2201 Ext. 6679, Sergeant C. Green at (310) 458-8414 or the Watch Commander (24 Hours) at (310) 458-8427.
Walmart to stop locking up African-American beauty products sold at its stores. “We’re sensitive to the issue and understand the concerns raised by our customers and members of the community and have made the decision to discontinue placing multicultural hair care and beauty products — a practice in place in about a dozen of our 4,700 stores nationwide — in locked cases,” the company said in a statement.