Long Beach businesses cleaning up after National Guard deployed amid widespread looting

Business owners in Long Beach were met with devastation Monday after a peaceful protest held by thousands in Long Beach over the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd was marred by widespread looting over the weekend in the downtown area.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Business owners in Long Beach were met with devastation Monday after a peaceful protest held by thousands in Long Beach over the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd was marred by widespread looting over the weekend in the downtown area and other commercial areas around the city, prompting the mayor to request National Guard troops to help restore peace.

A curfew goes into effect at 1 p.m. for the business district and a citywide curfew is in place at 4 p.m. Officials did not immediately announce when the curfew expires.

Mayor Robert Garcia spoke during a press conference Monday morning, calling for an end to the crime and violence.

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Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia held a press conference Monday following a wave of crime in downtown and area and other commercial areas after a peaceful protest.



Meanwhile, protesters said they will continue to march peacefully for justice.

"We're tired of being sick and tired, and so that's what all of this led up to. I hate that it came to this," said demonstrator and resident Robynn Mays.

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Incredible footage from Long Beach showed looters trapped in a store busting through a boarded up window to escape.



Much of downtown Long Beach was littered with smashed windows, graffiti and stolen merchandise.

"It's devastating. You can see shop owners come outside and just looked at everything they lost," resident Katie O'Neil said.

Peaceful protestors once again marched for equality in Long Beach - condemning hate, racism and police brutality.

"The magnitude of the anger is suppressed hurt and pain," Mays said.

Their pleas for justice are in response to the death of Floyd, an unarmed black man killed by a former Minneapolis police officer one week ago.

The protest started at 3 p.m. Sunday at Long Beach Police Headquarters, continuing along Ocean Boulevard and back to downtown, according to police and media accounts.

But after protesters marched through the area, security guards described seeing a group of disrupters being dropped off in cars. Many were seen looting from businesses, apparently on a mission to destroy property.

"Now any chance you had to catch up on your rent, you don't. Or feeding your kids your anything. And today's (June 1). And all the checks come out for seniors, for SSI, low incomes and where are they going to go shopping or pay their bills," resident John Kindred said.

Looters began their assault around 5 p.m., hitting several businesses in The Pike Outlets including T-Mobile and Luxury Perfume. They also stole from the Jean Machine in the City Place Shopping Center, Mark Schneider Fine Jewelry in the Promenade, a Ross store and several businesses along Long Beach Boulevard including El Super and a CVS. They could be seen making multiple trips inside stores to carry out armfuls of merchandise which they loaded into awaiting vehicles, taking selfies and smiling for television cameras.

"Heartbreaking,'' was the way Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna described the turn of events. "We planned for a large group of protesters to express their anger in a positive way,'' he said. That meant bringing in hundreds of officers -- four to five times the usual Sunday staff -- who were quickly overwhelmed because once officers gained control of an area they could not give it up and looters moved on.

Luna expected the number of arrests to increase as the growing law enforcement presence enforced the countywide curfew.

Many of the looters are believed to have come to Long Beach from other areas.

Looters also attempted to hit stores in nearby Lakewood. An alert sent out by Lakewood city officials said: "Sheriffs made arrests quickly for commercial looting in Lakewood and are handling the issue. Please stay home,'' and "Lakewood's Sheriff personnel are fully deployed. Lakewood's primary and reserve Sky Knight helicopters are up and watching the city.''

Mays and other Long Beach neighbors spent Monday cleaning streets, sidewalks and businesses.

It is unclear how much longer they will now have to remain closed, but together, they say they will remain one unified community.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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