Thousands of demonstrators came to Beverly Hills today as part of a series of protests over the in-custody death of George Floyd, committing multiple incidents of vandalism. Sign-carrying demonstrators chanted “Eat the rich” on Beverly Hills' famed shopping street Rodeo Drive. Signs carried by protesters included, “George Floyd did not deserve to be murdered," "Justice for George Floyd” and “Black Lives Matter.”
Many protesters ignored social-distancing recommendations. Stores on Rodeo Drive, like other nonessential stores throughout the state, have been closed since early March due to stay-at-home orders related to the coronavirus pandemic. The city announced around 2 p.m. Rodeo Drive was closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
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At 5:18 p.m., Mayor Les Friedman announced a curfew from 8 p.m. Saturday to 5:30 a.m. Sunday “to ensure the safety of citizens, visitors and law enforcement personnel." The curfew prohibits anyone from being upon streets, alleys, parks or any public place.
“I'm asking everyone to stay at home,” Friedman said. “Thousands of protesters marched through our city streets on Saturday to call attention the devastating circumstances surrounding the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd."
"While most of the protesters were peaceful and there were no injuries, there were multiple incidents of vandalism in the city. The safety of the Beverly Hills community remains our top priority at all times. The Beverly Hills Police Department has deployed extra staffing throughout the city and will be highly visible while enforcing the curfew,” Friedman said.
Shortly before 4 p.m., automated telephone calls were made to Beverly Hills residents saying protesters are entering the city and urging residents to stay to home and motorists should avoid the area. The Beverly Hills City Council held what it described as an “emergency meeting to discuss the current ongoing civil unrest within Los Angeles County” earlier Saturday.
Floyd died Monday after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by a white Minneapolis Police Department officer, Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee on the 46-year-old man's neck for several minutes while three other officers looked on. Video footage of the arrest, in which Floyd is heard saying “I can't breathe,” spread widely online, and all four officers were fired. Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter on Friday.