More than 60 people have been arrested for looting and other crimes around Los Angeles during the recent unrest, according a bureau statement.
Protests began across the country following the death of unarmed Minneapolis black man George Floyd while in police custody. While the protests have largely been peaceful, conflict between protesters and police have provided the perfect distraction for a mix of opportunists and third-party instigators to take advantage of the situation.
LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced that the LAPD has arrested and charged 61 people for looting during the protests, as well as for assault and/or battery on officers, possession of a destructive device and identity theft.
“I support the peaceful organized protests that already have brought needed attention to racial inequality throughout our society, including in the criminal justice system,” Lacey said. “I also have a constitutional and ethical duty to protect the public and prosecute people who loot and vandalize our community.”
The cases have ranged from a 15-year-old who has been charged with assault upon a peace officer to a group that attempted to flee pursuit. In the case of felony looting, a punishment of up to three years in county jail may be delivered.
The dual nature of the pandemic and the protests has created a complex situation for the court system, with some cases setting zero bail due to the guidelines under the Judicial Council of California.
Lacey expects to see more cases presented through the week as many cases and charges are currently under consideration. In some instances, people were released before charges could be filed.
In addition to the 61 charges, 11 cases were declined due to insufficient evidence, 19 were referred back to law enforcement for further investigation and 31 were referred for misdemeanor filing consideration instead.