Santa Monica

Santa Monica Begins Cleanup After a Day of Looting and Destruction

Piles of debris left behind by looters and vandals had already been swept into neat piles early Monday as the seaside city began recovering from a chaotic day.

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Volunteers will begin cleaning up Monday after a day of chaos and looting that left the seaside city’s business district and other areas heavily damaged. 

A cleanup effort will begin at 9 a.m. at the Santa Monica Pier. Volunteers are encouraged to bring gloves and anything else needed to clean up.

Outside a Vans store on Broadway, workers had already started sweeping debris into piles early Monday. Two men from Norwalk and others arrived before daybreak to help.

“I feel bad for the business owners. It just sucks,” said Charles, who was among those cleaning up early Monday. 

An armored California National Guard vehicle was parked nearby with at least two Guard members standing watch over a city that erupted in chaos hours earlier.

Another curfew is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Monday for the business district and 4 p.m. citywide.

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Curfew began Sunday afternoon as looters smashed store windows and streamed in and out of stores with merchandise. The looting began after a peaceful protest that included a group marching down Ocean Boulevard around noon, many holding signs protesting the killing of Floyd.

That march was peaceful, but a short time later, looting was reported at several stores in Santa Monica Place shopping center and on nearby Fourth Street, Video showed many people carrying merchandise and running out of stores that had been broken into with shattered glass scattered on sidewalks and graffiti spray painted on buildings. 

“On Sunday, Santa Monica honored and respected, and ultimately protected, a peaceful protest against institutional racism," said Mayor Kevin McKeown. "Yet our solidarity with those honoring George Floyd was betrayed, as was his memory, by opportunistic and organized criminals. 

"Taking advantage of the protest as a diversion, they stole not only goods, but jobs, and challenged the resilience of our business community, which is poised for recovery from the ongoing pandemic. Sunday was one of the most distressing days in Santa Monica history. We know better than to let the looters obscure the message of the protesters, who have indeed been heard.  What a small and selfish criminal element has done instead is to bring our community more closely together.  We will support our local businesses to recover from this."

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