Riots Arose From a Small Group
August 27, 2020
Within a large group of peaceful protestors lurked a handful of anarchists and troublemakers who attacked police, wanting to instigate revolutionary violence.
Police chiefs from Santa Monica and Los Angeles and a deputy chief from Long Beach gave a detailed portrait of the violence at the Los Angeles "Safe L.A. Task Force” in DTLA Wednesday. They said rioters specifically targeted their cities. "Safe L.A. Task Force" is a regional task force on the recent violence.
Research reveals that carloads of burglars zipping between protests, using the marchers as cover. Arsonists walked in and out of demonstrations, then used incendiary devices and chemicals to torch businesses.
At least one gunman who fired at police from his Jeep in Venice, striking two, later came armed to a second protest in downtown L.A.
Los Angeles Police Department Michel Moore added that all of the suspects engaged in violence were local residents. He described the suspects, many who’ve been arrested since June, as “violent opportunists.”
This small group of violent demonstrators were not the same people as the “demonstrators who were lawfully marching in our streets,” Moore said.
The SAFE LA task force includes the local police chiefs, FBI agents, L.A. County Sheriff’s commanders and U.S. Department of Justice prosecutors.
Police claimed as of August 26th. Los Angeles police have arrested 14, Long Beach arrested 23 and Santa Monica Police have arrested 19.
Police Chief Cynthia Renaud, who’s come under fire for what residents and business owners have described as a totally overwhelmed police force, said her investigators watched hours of security camera footage to figure out what happened.
Santa Monica saw unprecedented chaos and violence during the protests. Video footage showed looters smashing into stores at will and people assaulting bystanders in the middle of Downtown Santa Monica streets.
When they shared what they found with Long Beach police, they quickly discovered the same criminal suspects hit stores in both cities on different days.
Renaud said the crews were “well coordinated” and were communicating through text messages and social media.
“There were clear plans,” Renaud said. “There were multiple people in vehicles, there were vehicles following vehicles. They staged in parking lots. They sent one vehicle in to loot, with a person who was being timed by someone who was waiting out in the car … for a very quick entry and exit, which made it difficult for law enforcement to interdict.”
Just two minutes was all they needed to make off with armfuls of items, Renaud said. She described some looters carrying suitcases with them to pack up more goods.
- Wire services, including AP
Long Beach Deputy Chief Erik Herzog said police in both cities knew quickly that they were being hit by burglary crews with well-laid plans.
Some of the targeted businesses were selected randomly. A perfume shop in Long Beach still hadn’t reopened, and probably never would, Herzog said.
“The owner got COVID. She was already struggling,” he said.