Psychology professor explains how race factored into chaotic protests in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- What started out as a mostly peaceful demonstration over the death of George Floyd turned into chaos when some protesters set cars on fire, vandalized buildings and looted stores in Los Angeles on Saturday.

Several officers were hurt, including an officer who reportedly suffered a broken hand in the Fairfax District.

Dr. Cheryl Grills, a professor of psychology at Loyola Marymount University, joined ABC7 on Saturday to explain how race factored into the recent protests and some of the unrest seen during Saturday's protests.

"These are very difficult and trying times for people of African ancestry in this country, and in fact, in the world. We black folks have been essentially dealing with centuries of racial oppression. Our souls, our bodies, our minds are under duress," Dr. Grills said.

"We are in a broken social system in society, and as Dr. King put it, in 1968 he did an address to the American Psychological Association, and he said, 'what has penetrated substantially all strata of negro life, is the revolutionary idea that the philosophy and morals of the dominant white society are not holy or sacred, but in all too many respects, are degenerate and profane.' So, essentially what we're dealing with is a situation that is not righteous, it's not just. It has no empathy or compassion for the humanity of black people, and in the midst of yet another assault, a reminder that we are seen as less than human, we're being called on to rise above the situation. So, the question I would have people answer for me, as I look at what's happening in the streets of Los Angeles and across this country is what shall you have us do? While no one likes, wants or necessarily supports the kind of unrest we are seeing right now, what would you have us do? What's the solution?"

Watch the video above for the full interview.

Protester compares violence in LA to racial inequality in society
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"This is what it's like to walk down the streets. It's chaos. I'm afraid every time a police officer drives past me."

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