George Floyd Protests, Part 1: Los Angeles in Unrest
On Monday, May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a Black man, was killed by Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis Police Department officer, for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill.
Chauvin choked Floyd to death by kneeling on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes despite Floyd pleading, "I can't breathe." Three other officers aided Chauvin by further restraining Floyd and keeping bystanders away.
The killing of George Floyd sparked protests in all 50 states and across the globe as anger over racism and police brutality overpowered the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, marking the beginning of a worldwide reckoning with racism and its role in police brutality.
The first weekend after Floyd’s death proved chaotic for Los Angeles. These photos are from the Fairfax District protest on Saturday, May 30, 2020. Thousands of people gathered in Pan Pacific Park and peacefully marched until police cars arrived.
In an explosion of emotion, the protest turned violent as LAPD officers and some protesters confronted each other. LAPD officers injured dozens of protesters and journalists with tear gas, rubber bullets and nightsticks, while the protesters burned multiple police cars and threw water bottles and rocks at the police.
Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a curfew that night from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., but patches of Los Angeles descended into lawlessness well past curfew as people vandalized buildings and looted stores, some of which were Black-owned.
Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles, who organized the peaceful march, distanced itself from the violence that took over. The following day, Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles and deployed the National Guard.