by Emon Johnson
What started as a peaceful protest escalated to looting and vandalism in the city of Long Beach.
At 3:00PM on Sunday, May 31, 2020, thousands of people gathered to protest the death of George Floyd, the forty-six-year-old, unarmed African American man from Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Unlike previous cases between white police officers and black victims in which the nation was often at a split of who was truly responsible, this case held little support favoring Derek Chauvin, the officer who held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly 9 minutes. While Floyd lay there, handcuffed and pleading “Please. I can’t breathe. You’re going to kill me.”
Several people on the street witnessed the officers and Floyd with a few of them also pleading to Chauvin to remove his knee. However, they were blocked by the four officers holding Floyd. This is including officer Tou Thao, who is seen in videos of Floyd’s killing, ignoring blatant request to stop abetting his officer in murder in broad daylight.
Outraged from this incident, thousands of people flooded Long Beach’s Pike area, blocking major streets like Ocean Blvd, Seaside, and Pine. Many chanting, “I can’t breathe!” or “No justice, no peace.”
At approximately 4:30PM, officers appeared on the corner of Ocean and Pine, where the group had now marched from their original location from Broadway and Magnolia.
Seconds after their arrival, protesters began throwing water bottles, food, and other objects at the officers. One man even tried jumping onto an officers motorcycle.
When they fled, many members in the crowd began chasing them. Most waited however, as a few people began shouting to leave the cops alone and continue walking.
They continued down Pine Ave. Making a right onto Shoreline Blvd, the crowd continued to chant and block traffic. As they approached the shopping centers, unrest grew as the front of the crowd seemed to be preparing for looting H&M, as the members behind them yelled at people to remain calm.
At this time, no stores were looted or vandalized. They continued their march and made their way to the Long Beach Police Department. A wall of officers formed an L-shaped barricade between the protester’s forward march on Magnolia St, and the LBPD Station.
Approximately 20 minuets after this, the crowd left the station and returned towards Rock Bottom dinner on Ocean and Pine.
An hour later, some members began looting.
Here is a map of the area and routes taken by the crowd for better understanding.