Thousands of people have marched up and down West Hollywood’s Santa Monica Boulevard this afternoon to protest the death of George Floyd and other incidents of violence by law enforcement officers against black people.
The march began at noon on Santa Monica at the intersection with La Cienega Boulevard. The protestors then marched west and stopped at the intersection with San Vicente Boulevard to face the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station. They then headed back east to La Brea Avenue at which point some of those marching left the procession and others headed into Hollywood. Most of those participating in the march were young men and women, a majority of whom were white, accompanied by black and Asian friends. Among those participating in the march was City Councilmember John d’Amico.
The march was loud, with drivers honking their car horns in support of the protestors and marchers chanting “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” and “Prosecute Killer Cops” and “I Can’t Breathe.” However, it was peaceful, with no signs of the vandalism and break-ins that followed similar demonstrations in the Fairfax District and on Melrose Avenue and in other cities on the Westside.
Those demonstrations and others across the United States were sparked by the death in Minneapolis on May 25 of George Floyd. Floyd, an African American man, after an altercation with a police officer who kneeled on his neck while Floyd, who was handcuffed, screamed that he couldn’t breathe. Floyd had been arrested for allegedly trying to use a counterfeit $20 bill to make a purchase at a deli. A video of the incident went viral and has sparked protests across the nation.
At one point, those marching on Santa Monica Boulevard today kneeled for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time the Minneapolis police officer had kept his knee on Floyd’s neck.
Jai Rodriguez, known his his role on “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” explains why the LGBTQ communities come together to protest police violence against black people.
On Tuesday, Sheriff’s deputies stood in a line along the crosswalk on Santa Monica Boulevard at La Brea to block demonstrators from coming into West Hollywood. However today they were very accommodating to the demonstrators. After leaving the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vicente, the demonstrators stopped at the intersection with La Cienega and were confronted by deputies and police vehicles that formed a barrier to keep them from marching east on Santa Monica. A Sheriff’s deputy told WEHOville that deputies wanted the demonstrators to march north up La Cienega instead. But after a brief stand-off, the deputies opened the east bound lanes of Santa Monica and let the demonstrators march to La Brea.
There were no signs of aggression by the deputies, even as demonstrators denounced them and shouted insults like “all cops are bastards.” During demonstrations in the Fairfax district on Sunday, some Los Angeles Police Department officers were aggressive, shooting rubber bullets on the ground in front of demonstrators and hitting and shoving some of them to the ground.