Despite curfew, downtown L.A. hit by more looting overnight

Protesters smash windows along Figueroa Street in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Despite a citywide curfew, groups of people — mostly men — wandered the streets of downtown Los Angeles late Saturday night, smashing windows and spray-painting anti-police graffiti on plywood boards that business and property owners had hastily affixed to their buildings earlier in the day.

Cars cruised around downtown looking for easy targets to loot. Drivers parked as passengers ran inside to grab goods before hustling back outside and filling the trunk with pilfered products.

National Guard troops deployed onto the streets of Los Angeles early Sunday morning as looting, vandalism and violence intensified and the police department struggled to restore order after two days of discord.

The CVS pharmacy on 8th and Grand avenues was boarded up after being vandalized and looted the night before. On Saturday night, one person began banging on the front door. After about five minutes, it finally broke and two people ran inside, grabbing items.

Soon, a stream of people rushed into the store and began removing items.


The scene was the same around 11 p.m. at a computer store on Melrose and Highland avenues in the Fairfax District, where throngs of people drove up, ran into the shop and emerged with boxes of electronics.

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An 8 p.m. curfew enacted by Mayor Eric Garcetti did appear to clear the streets in many areas. TV footage showed police taking people into custody for curfew violations. The number of arrests was not immediately available Sunday morning.

As the sun rose over downtown L.A., crews went to work sweeping up a sea of shattered glass and covering up graffiti with paint rollers.

National Guard troops deployed onto the streets of Los Angeles after Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency.

A platoon of soldiers walked patrol between Skid Row and Bunker Hill, while Humvees rumbled through the Financial District.

The soldiers on foot patrol carried M-4 rifles and wore full combat gear, with gas masks strapped to their thighs. Some looked self-conscious as passersby stopped to photograph them, while others nodded and said, “Good morning.”

It was the first time the National Guard has been called into Los Angeles since the 1992 riots, which erupted after the police officers who beat Rodney King were found not guilty.