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LA Mayor Eric Garcetti Sets 8 PM Curfew Amid George Floyd Protests

Garcetti asks Angelenos ”to take a deep breath“ and ”step back for a moment to allow our firefighters to put out the flames“

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti set an 8 p.m.-5:30 a.m. curfew for the entire city on Saturday amid escalating, violent protests over George Floyd’s death.

“The curfew has been expanded to the entire city to keep Angelenos safe. People in the City of Los Angeles are required to stay indoors tonight, starting at 8 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. on Sunday morning,” Garcetti tweeted Saturday night. He added in a subsequent tweet that “traveling to and from work, seeking or giving emergency care, and emergency responders are exempt.”

Earlier in the day, Garcetti had restricted the curfew to the downtown area, saying in a press conference, “We cannot protect our ability to protect life when we see fires set in dense urban areas, that not only endanger firefighters, but that could put buildings full of residents up in flames. And we’ve seen this before in Los Angeles. When the violence escalates, no one wins. So everybody has to be responsible for owning this moment.”

He continued: “Whether you wear a badge or whether you hold a sign, I’m asking all of Los Angeles to take a deep breath and to step back for a moment to allow our firefighters to put out the flames. To allow our peace officers to reestablish some order. And for us to let them protect your rights to be out there for as many days as we need to, for as many protests as we have to, until change isn’t something that’s just a slogan, but change is in the actions we see across this country, so that not one more person has to die with a knee in their neck.”

Readers can watch Garcetti’s full press conference here.

Following the presser, Garcetti tweeted: “We will always protect free speech and Angelenos’ right to live without fear of violence or vandalism. To increase safety for demonstrators, law enforcement and all citizens of Los Angeles, we are putting a curfew in place from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.”

He soon updated his statement with this clarification on the specifics of the curfew: “Currently, the curfew will apply to downtown Los Angeles between the 110 fwy on the west, Alameda on the east, and 10 fwy on the south, and 101 fwy on the north between 8 p.m. and 5:30 a.m.”

More than 500 protesters were arrested Friday night after protests over Floyd’s death resulted in looting, vandalism and battery on police officers in Downtown Los Angeles, according to the LAPD.

“The Los Angeles Police Department continues to assess the full extent of property damage from last night’s protest activities,” a spokesperson for the LAPD said in a statement Saturday. “Several police vehicles were vandalized, and numerous downtown businesses were damaged and looted. A total of 533 arrests were made last night related to the protests. The charges include burglary, looting, probation violation, battery on police officer, attempt murder and failure to disperse.”

The LAPD says six police officers were injured during the protests on Friday night and early Saturday morning, sustaining “non-life-threatening injuries ranging from lacerations to impact wounds.”

The protests in Los Angeles continued Saturday, with thousands congregating in the city’s Fairfax District, where police cars were set on fire, as protesters clashed with officers while marching toward Beverly Hills, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Los Angeles demonstrations in response to Floyd’s death are among dozens that have broken out this week in Minneapolis, New York and Atlanta, among other cities across the United States.

Floyd, a black man, was arrested by Minneapolis police Monday after an employee at a convenience store called authorities to say he suspected Floyd of passing a counterfeit $20 bill.

During Floyd’s arrest, white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, an act that was caught on video by a bystander. In the clip, Floyd can be heard asking officers to let him breathe but is not shown to be resisting. Paramedics were called to the scene, where they found Floyd to be unresponsive. He was later pronounced dead.

Chauvin has since been fired by the Minneapolis police, arrested and charged with third-degree murder in connection to Floyd’s death. The three other officers who were involved in Floyd’s arrest have not been arrested or charged, though they were also fired.