Mostly Peaceful Protests for Victim of Fatal Memphis Police Beating

Memphis Reacts To Release Of Police Body Cam Video Of Tyre Nichols' Arrest Prior To His Death Days Later

Photo: Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Demonstrators who gathered in downtown Los Angeles, West Long Angeles and Hollywood were largely peaceful as protests continued in respond to the beating death of a 29-year-old Black man by five Memphis police officers, although one person was arrested on suspicion of felony vandalism, authorities said.

"A small group has gathered in Downtown Los Angeles. The flow of traffic has not been affected," the department tweeted at 11:23 a.m. Saturday. "The Los Angeles Police Department remains committed to ensuring all can exercise their 1st Amendment Right."

The LAPD later tweeted at 12:15 p.m. that "another small group" had gathered in the Hollywood area.

Shortly before 2 p.m., police said the group in downtown Los Angeles "peacefully exercised their 1st Amendment Right and dispersed shortly after. Continue to monitor for updates."

Saturday afternoon, about 200 demonstrators began walking westbound on Wilshire Boulevard from Sepulveda Boulevard in West L.A.

Traffic in Hollywood was impacted about 8:30 p.m. Saturday when a group of protesters marched from Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street to the area of Cahuenga and Hollywood boulevards and back to Sunset and Vine.

A man arrested during the Hollywood demonstration was accused of breaking windows at a bank, Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Frank Preciado told City News Service.

The Saturday demonstrations were peaceful, but that wasn't entirely the case Friday night, just hours after graphic video was released showing the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols on Jan. 7. The five Memphis police officers -- who are also Black -- have since been fired and charged with murder.

Some in the crowd Friday surrounded parked police cars -- banging on them and smacking windows -- but no arrests were made and most left after being warned by officers at the scene, authorities said.

The group had marched through downtown Los Angeles carrying Black Lives Matter banners and smartphones before gathering at First and Main streets shortly after 8 p.m. for a candlelight vigil for Nichols and also Keenan Anderson, who died in LAPD custody Jan. 3.

Protesters knocked down metal protective barriers and someone spray painted the word "kills" on the building under the words Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"Last night, a group of about 60 people gathered in front of the Los Angeles Police Headquarters Facility to hold a candlelight vigil. The vast majority conducted themselves in a civil manner," LAPD Chief Michel Moore said in a statement Saturday. "A small portion of this group, intent on disruption, later vandalized the building and two police vehicles.

"Fortunately, no police officers or demonstrators were injured. There were no arrests.

"I am proud of the leadership, professionalism and restraint shown by our people at this incident as the did not succumb to the continuous antagonistic and violent behavior of those from the larger otherwise peaceful group," Moore continued.

"I join our elected officials, community and faith leaders encouraging Angelenos to  continue to demonstrate at events in a peaceful manner."

Similar demonstrations took place across the nation Friday night following the release of the video that was widely decried by citizens, elected officials and law enforcement.

The protests are set to continue Sunday when Black Live Matter LA holds a rally at Lincoln and Venice boulevards to advocate for an end to traffic stops by police officers. The intersection of Lincoln and Venice is where Anderson, a 31-year-old English teacher, was repeatedly tased following a traffic collision and later died after suffering cardiac arrest.

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