October 22, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Grapples With Aftermath of Looting

Over 400 arrested in Santa Monica

By Sam Catanzaro

A citywide curfew was in place in Santa Monica Monday as the community grapples with the aftermath of widespread looting with over 100 businesses damaged.

The City of Santa Monica issued a curfew, Monday, June 1, 2020 effective at 1:30 p.m. citywide through 5:30 a.m., Tuesday, June 2. Originally, the curfew was to begin at 1 p.m. for business districts and 4 p.m. for the rest of the city.

The curfew is in response to widespread looting and vandalism that began Sunday.

As the looting was taking place separate groups of peaceful demonstrators marched throughout the city protesting the police killing of George Floyd. It does not appear the looters and the peaceful protestors were related.

With a community-wide cleanup effort underway, the Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD), in partnership with the National Guard and Fire Departments are on the ground today to protect Santa Monica from potential threats.

“This is an active and fluid situation throughout Los Angeles County. Our primary focus in Santa Monica will remain life safety and the security of our community. We have zero tolerance for looting and the organized criminal activity we saw last night,” said SMPD Chief Cynthia Renaud. “Santa Monica Police Department with the support from the National Guard are on alert to respond to any potential threats. Our police force is hard at work and their professionalism was evident last night with no loss of life and no serious injuries.”

A Reddit thread shows that over 100 Santa Monica businesses were damaged by looters, including many small businesses that had just reopened after being closed due to COVID-19.

One of these businesses is Sunny Optometry, located at 1355 4th Street.

“The team at Sunny Optometry was overwhelmingly excited to welcome back patients after a two month closure from the COVID-19 pandemic. After months of grueling planning, we managed to safely reopen our doors to serve our community and restore our teams’ lost jobs. On Sunday, May 31st, only two weeks after reopening, waves of brazen rioters and looters destroyed all that our team has built since 1985,” the store said in an email. “Amid the start of a protest in downtown Santa Monica, all day we helplessly witnessed our life’s work vandalized, stolen, and burned. The looters were so thorough they stole everything including receipt paper, pennies, and lint in our drawers before setting it all ablaze. We are eternally grateful for the brave police and firefighters who managed to mitigate the damage and prevent the office from becoming a pile of ash.”

According to Renaud, over 400 arrests have made in Santa Monica since noon Sunday, and over 95 percent of those arrested are from outside the city. Charges included looting, violation of curfew, burglary, and assault.

Despite these arrests, a petition is circulating calling on Renaud to be recalled due to the Department’s handling of the looting.

“After seeing the widespread looting and vandalism of our city and local businesses, we can do better. After seeing our brave law enforcement officers stand by without strong leadership or overarching strategy to protect themselves, our city, and its citizens, we have to do better. After seeing SMPD Chief Cynthia Renaud conduct a blundering press conference that was completely misaligned with the current realities, we must do better,” reads the petition, which as of Monday 1 p.m. had over 1,000 supporters. “We need and deserve strong, resounding leadership in Santa Monica’s police force, particularly during today’s volatile times. SMPD Chief Cynthia Renaud has proven incapable of responding to that call effectively. For the sake of our community and public safety, we need to remove Cynthia Renaud from her position immediately.”

The Santa Monica Mirror has reached out to City and Chief Renaud for comment but they have not responded at the time of publishing.

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