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Newport Beach to honor police for protest coverage

A Newport Beach police vehicle drives by a lifeguard tower.
The council resolution of support applauds the Newport department’s protest coverage and by extension the department in general.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

The Newport Beach City Council is set to honor its police department for how officers handled several local protests earlier this summer that were part of the international movement against police brutality in the United States.

The council will consider a resolution Tuesday that recognizes the force’s response on June 3, when five separate protests took place at various times and locations in town. Newport police estimate these demonstrations drew a combined 2,500 people.

The protests were held to call out racial injustice in the wake of the death of George Floyd while in custody of Minneapolis police, one of dozens of similar protests in Orange County over the summer.

The council resolution of support applauds the Newport department’s protest coverage and by extension the department in general.

The Orange County district attorney’s office charged Travis Patrick White, 48, with one count of brandishing a firearm in public and one count of possession of a loaded firearm in a public place, prosecutors announced Friday.

“To conclude the 12-hour day without any major incidents, property damage or injuries to officers or protesters is a demonstration of the Newport Beach Police Department’s exceptional professionalism, preparation and planning ... the fashion in which the Newport Beach Police Department maintained order and provided a safe environment for all participants is a testament to their commitment to community needs, desires and values, and further embodies how the Newport Beach Police Department continues to be an extension of and reflection of those they so proudly serve,” the resolution reads.

The June 3 protests were largely peaceful but not without flare-ups. At the demonstration centered at Newport Pier, a local man was arrested for driving his car through the crowd on Balboa Boulevard, grazing several people. Another local man was charged with brandishing a handgun at marchers near the area of 30th Street and Newport Boulevard.

In other meeting action, the council will discuss a potential zoning code amendment to allow wine tasting rooms within the city’s industrial zoning district, and an appeal of a July Planning Commission decision to allow an AT&T small cell wireless facility to be installed on a streetlight pole on the Balboa Peninsula.

The City Council meeting starts at 4 p.m. and can be streamed at newportbeachca.gov or attended in person, following physical distancing protocols, in the Community Room at Newport Beach City Hall, 100 Civic Center Drive.

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