More than 50 people have been arrested in connection with reports of looting and other alleged crimes during civil unrest in late May and early June, according to officials with the SAFE LA Task Force.
The “SAFE LA Task Force” was established specifically to investigate “significant crimes during the protests and demonstrations in Los Angeles which started on May 29,” according to a press release from the Los Angeles Police Department. The task force is a group effort, consisting of several local law enforcement agencies, the Los Angeles Fire Department, the city attorney’s office, the L.A. County district attorney’s office and even the FBI. These “significant crimes” include looting, vandalism, assault and arson. As part of their efforts, the LAPD and FBI set up a website asking the public to provide tips, offering cash rewards for information that led to arrests. It reads, “Possible REWARD ($$$) money is available for the identification and arrest of person(s) of interest,” above several photographs of said people.
During a press conference earlier this week, LAPD Chief Michel Moore announced that the police department had closed 42 of 149 open cases. Thus far, the LAPD has arrested 14 people, while Long Beach police have arrested 23 and Santa Monica police have arrested 19 for a total of 56 arrests.
Santa Monica Police Chief Cynthia Renaud said some people accused of crimes in Santa Monica were “well-coordinated” and had also allegedly committed crimes in Long Beach and Los Angeles.
All of the officials made sure to stress that those arrested were separate from the protesters who were exercising their First Amendment rights. Of course, many protesters who did not commit “significant crimes” were arrested at the time for not dispersing before curfew. They were not charged.
Meanwhile, the LAPD is investigating dozens of allegations of misconduct during the protests among its own officers. Moore addressed this, saying, “We have assigned personnel and we are investigating, and we will pursue those as vigorously as we have these.”