The nonstop news on Saturday night, May 30, covered the looting and fires happening along Fairfax and Melrose in Los Angeles.
The camera followed a man running out of an Adidas store carrying four boxes of shoes, and I thought, “Are they the right size and if they’re not, what do you do? Do you sell them on eBay?
As I watched as the looters, mostly men, jostle to get in and out of the door/window bumping into each other, I also thought, “When you loot, do you just grab and go, or do you selectively take certain models?”
I listened as the newscaster was trying to ask Mayor Eric Garcetti about how you deal with this when no one was social distancing. She pointed out that some of the looters didn’t have masks.
I wondered about the man with the shoes and thought, “Now that he has four pairs of shoes, how does his life change? Does he really care about racism?”
My anger continued to build when the newscaster told us that the Grove, Rick Caruso’s world-famous shopping center, had been targeted, and a police kiosk burned.
Exactly what did that have to do with the death of George Floyd, the black man in Minneapolis who had been killed by a rogue policeman — an act that many people attributed to the endemic racism in this country?
There are bad cops. There are people killed by bad cops—and they aren’t always black; for example, Kelly Thomas, a white homeless man, who lived on the streets of Fullerton.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackaukas at the time said in a L.A. Times Story “Kelly Thomas appeared to be acting in self-defense, in pain, in a state of panic. His numerous pleas of ‘I’m sorry,’ ‘I can’t breathe,’ ‘help,’ ‘Dad,’ all to no avail,” Rackauckas said. “Screams, loud screams, didn’t help.”
Thomas was repeatedly hit by officers, was admitted to a hospital, slipped in a coma and died five days later. The police officers who were charged were acquitted.
Japan LA, a little store on Melrose that features Japanese pop culture toys, gifts and kawaii, was looted on Saturday. Exactly how does that help advance the conversation about institutional racism in a positive way?
I watched as a group of “protestors” blocked a fire truck from going forward on a street. They effectively stopped firefighters from doing their job. What were these people thinking? Were they thinking, “George Floyd was killed because of a racist cop, so we’ll stop firefighters from putting out fires in people’s businesses?”
How does looting, burning businesses, and shooting fireworks at police officers advance the dialogue or make a change?
The two LAPD officers assigned to Pacific Palisades — John “Rusty” Redican and Jimmy Soliman — came on duty at 5 a.m. Saturday morning and were on beach patrol. At 1 p.m. they were reassigned to Fairfax, where much of last night’s rioting was taking place.
Local resident Sharon Kilbride wrote on her Facebook page, “Be safe and pray for our LAPD officers that are out on the streets protecting and serving us in the right way.”
I want the right to protest and I have. I want the right to change laws and to have people held accountable for their actions, which I push for repeatedly in my writing.
Stealing, burning and destroying public and private property is no one’s right.
Even worse, committing felonies and acts of violence and then blaming your crimes on racism is inexcusable.