While many protestors peacefully march, groups of looters rampage through stores

   On Monday, May 26, George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man was killed by Minneapolis police officers after being accused of forgery. Although Floyd did not resist arrest, officers still handcuffed and pinned him to the ground. Floyd passed away while pleading “I can’t breathe” as Officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee against his neck. 

   Protests broke out after this event, beginning in Minnesota and spreading throughout the country. Although many protestors peacefully gathered to stand up for George Floyd’s murder, a separate group of attendees started looting, breaking windows, setting buildings and cars on fire and vandalizing stores on May 31 in Santa Monica. 

   On May 31 at around 1 p.m., looters took over Santa Monica malls amidst the peaceful protest. Earlier, many protesters were only chanting and carrying signs as they walked from the Santa Monica Pier to Ocean Ave. Many were dancing, giving speeches, and spreading positivity to promote change to police brutality and in remembrance of George Floyd. However, the looters soon broke into stores and businesses, many getting away with supplies and merchandise. 

   Augie C., a protestor at Santa Monica, stated that the looters “were completely separate. I witnessed the looting at REI, Vans and throughout fourth street, and it was a completely separate group from the peaceful protests on the ocean.” He adds, “people would pull up, loot and leave. It wasn’t with the protests. Also people at the protests were asking people to not incite violence and were protecting stores.”

  Layla Hughes, organizer of the peaceful protest here in Santa Clarita on May 30, expresses her thoughts on these current situations: “while I want to make it clear that the organizers of this movement want peace and unity for our particular movement, I also unfortunately cannot comment on the decisions of other organizers and other riots. Our people are our people, protests are long overdue, and I am proud of peaceful protests elsewhere. I am proud to be black.”

   Sam, a peaceful protestor who was at the Santa Monica protests, explained that while there were people looting and trying to cause a riot, there were overall many more people at the protest being peaceful. 

   He was in the “very front lines leading chants about how we were unarmed and wanted nothing but peace.” However, he was still met with rubber bullets and tear gas from the police trying to disperse the crowd. 

   Cats, remember to wear masks and other protection for COVID-19 if you are choosing to participate in protests. Stay safe.