Looting and Vandalism Felony Arrests Decline, Protesters Worried About Legal Consequences of Arrests

Data shows far fewer looting arrests as demonstrations grew larger across Southern California.

A man throws a molotov cocktail.

Fewer felony arrests for looting and vandalism have been reported each day this week in the city of Los Angeles, just as street protests against unjustified police violence grew in size and frequency.

Jail records showed just 11 people were held on suspicion of looting Wednesday, down from 47 a day earlier, and nearly 150 last weekend, when dozens of businesses were vandalized, ransacked, and some burned in LA’s Fairfax District. 

Law enforcement agencies have also reported making far fewer arrests of demonstrators who violated temporary curfew or dispersal orders, including LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who told NBC LA Thursday he didn't think deputies had made a single protest-related arrest Wednesday night.

It was estimated more than 2,000 people were detained by law enforcement agenices for those violations at a variety of demonstrations around Southern California since May 28, though the largest police departments have yet to release specific numbers.

Civil rights and legal defense groups told NBC LA they’ve received hundreds of calls from demonstrators who were arrested and received citations.

The National Lawyers Guild, which just last month won a legal settlement against the LAPD for the treatment of protesters in 2014 after the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, said it had more than 450 inquiries from people seeking legal assistance or representation. 

An attorney there said many of the detained protesters complained they were injured by tight plastic handcuffs left on for many hours as they awaited processing by police, and said some urinated on themselves and menstruating women bled through their clothing because they were denied access to restrooms.

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