Confusion abounds over L.A. County curfew; officials, sheriff differ on when curfew begins

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said his deputies would begin enforcing a Wednesday night curfew at 10 p.m., although county officials said it would begin at 9 p.m.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

If a curfew starts, but law enforcement doesn’t plan to immediately enforce it, is it actually in place?

That question was less philosophical and more practical in Los Angeles County on Wednesday. After government officials announced an overnight curfew would be in place starting at 9 p.m., county Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced that his department would begin enforcement at 10 p.m.

The apparent disconnect left many residents scratching their heads, especially after they received a pair of emergency alerts referencing the different times.

In a statement, Villanueva said his decision as to when to start enforcement was “consistent with the First Amendment rights of all citizens.”


“While law enforcement has fully mobilized to protect the community, trust is a two-way street,” he said. “In doing so, I am signaling my trust in the public, so we can all work together in partnership during these troubling times.”

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit Wednesday against Los Angeles city and county and the city of San Bernardino to end the curfews.

County officials, for their part, explained it this way on Twitter: “The curfew for all of Los Angeles County starts at 9 p.m. Law enforcement departments can begin enforcing it at their discretion. Cities may also implement and enforce stricter curfews.”

One thing both the county and the sheriff agreed on, however, was that the curfew ends at 5 a.m. Thursday, and does not apply to law enforcement, first responders, people traveling to and from work and unsheltered individuals.

Wednesday was the fourth day of a sweeping curfew in Los Angeles County as residents continue to take to the streets to protest police brutality and the death of George Floyd — who died last week after a white Minneapolis police officer pinned him to the ground with a knee to his neck.