Los Angeles protests in downtown, Fairfax District, Beverly Hills see violence as protesters loot

Police were out in full force across Los Angeles on Saturday as thousands of protesters marched through the streets, expressing outrage over the death of George Floyd.

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Sunday, May 31, 2020
LA protests over George Floyd death lead to fires, looting
Thousands of people in Los Angeles protested the death of George Floyd, but the gatherings led to the burning of cars and buildings, looting and the imposition of a citywide curfew.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles County and the city, activating the National Guard to assist law enforcement, as police were out in force for the overnight curfew issued in response to protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Fairfax District

The demonstration, which was initially peaceful, originated as an organized event at Pan Pacific Park where as many as 10,000 people gathered and eventually spilled out onto nearby streets. The marchers made their way west on Third Street before gathering at the Fairfax Avenue intersection.

Traffic was initially snarled before the crowded streets were eventually shut down.

RELATED: As Los Angeles protests turn violent, Mayor Eric Garcetti calls in the National Guard

Multiple patrol vehicles were also set on fire during the protest, with many marked with graffiti. Buildings in the Fairfax District area were also tagged.

Two officers were struck by flying debris during the protests in the Fairfax District and were taken to a hospital.

Thousands of protesters on Saturday afternoon marched through the streets of the Fairfax District and Downtown Los Angeles, expressing outrage over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and prompting a massive response from LAPD officers.

Officers formed a skirmish line around 6:30 p.m. near Third Street and Fairfax Avenue to push protesters out of the area. Police later brought in large, military-style vehicles to clear the streets.

Just before 7 p.m., police responded to the Nordstrom store at The Grove in Los Angeles after it was broken into.

A kiosk for the Los Angeles Police Department at The Grove was set on fire.

Beverly Hills

Some sign-carrying protesters chanting "Eat the rich'' came to Beverly Hills' famed shopping street Rodeo Drive.

RELATED: Protesters loot stores, cause damage at The Grove, Rodeo Drive during George Floyd unrest

A mostly peaceful demonstration Saturday near The Grove and Rodeo Drive devolved in the afternoon when protesters set a Los Angeles Police Department kiosk and several vehicles on fire, broke store windows and covered buildings with graffiti.

Chaotic scenes erupted across the area. Looters were seen destroying an ATM on Melrose Avenue, which was eventually taken away by a group of looters, as a fire burned about a block away near the Adidas store. Others were seen smashing store fronts, including at least one person who took a hammer to a store window.

Luxury stores on Rodeo Drive were also burglarized and vandalized.

Downtown Los Angeles

AIR7 HD was over downtown Los Angeles around 11 p.m. as a handful of protesters were seen on the streets despite the curfew. However, the scene was a stark contract from the previous night when violent protests led to 500 arrests.

The sound of sirens echoed through the streets as police cruisers raced toward acts of violence.

LAPD officers armed with non-lethal weapons dispersed people who were seen roaming the streets, taking some people into custody. Authorities also blocked the streets to control the movement of demonstrators.

Five LAPD officers on Friday were injured in confrontations between police and protesters, officials said. One suffered a broken hand, another a head injury. Both of those officers are expected to recover. The specific injuries sustained by the other three were not immediately known.

More than 400 arrested, 5 officers hurt amid clashes in downtown Los Angeles

Hundreds were arrested overnight amid violent protests in downtown Los Angeles, police said.

Local and state officials' response

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a curfew for all of Los Angeles from 8 p.m. Saturday to 5:30 a.m. Sunday. Beverly Hills, Culver City, Pasadena and West Hollywood also enacted a curfew due to safety concerns.

The mayor joined many other city officials Saturday in sympathizing with demonstrators while also appealing for calm. "With liberty comes responsibility to be able to peacefully protest,'' Garcetti said.

"For that one or two percent of the protesters who think that (violence) is the way to make a statement, do not do a disservice to the memory of George Floyd (and) the folks who have died at the hands of the brutality that we all stand against,'' Garcetti said.

The mayor told reporters he had no plan to call for National Guard troops to assist police. "This is not 1992. We are not going to evoke what happened then and call in the National Guard. But that's on all of us. Let's all of us de-escalate,'' he said.

WATCH: 'This is how we feel every day' - protester compares violence in LA to racial inequality in society

"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."

However, hours later, Garcetti said he asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to put the California National Guard on standby.

Authorities say there was increased levels of widespread violence, crime, vandalism and assaults on police officers as the protests took a dark turn.

Officials say the National Guard was en route to help police quell the violence.

Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez issued a written statement on the protests and vandalism.

"When the National Guard has to be called in because anarchy has taken over our streets, that is not progress, that is not righteousness, that is just destruction," Martinez said. "These protests across America, including here in Los Angeles, are about our country's biggest and most unresolved sin - racism. We need to be focused on change through peaceful and fervent protest. Unfortunately, that is not what we are seeing tonight. We need to destroy hate, not our communities."

The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.