The above picture shows two aspects of yesterday’s widespread looting of Santa Monica businesses. On the one hand, the National Guard was moving into place to protect businesses; and HUMVs with guardsmen were seen in the streets. On the other, if you look to the left of the photo, you will see a mother and daughter with brooms, two of the many people I saw today helping to clean up the mess.
I spent an hour visiting places where Martine and I shop. The amount of damage was appalling. While the demonstrations were going on, looters moved in with hammers to break into businesses by shattering glass doors and windows. Below is a photo I took of a smoke shop on Broadway near 2nd Street that had been entered that way and ransacked. You will notice that the windows and doors had been smashed::
It seems that half the businesses in town were putting up plywood to protect their doors and display windows:
Finally, as I was searching for a bus stop where the re-routed #1 bus could pick me up, I noticed an ATM whose glass had been broken with a hammer:
I do not blame the protestors for the looting. It’s just that highly mobile thieves were using them as a screen. While most of the police were with the protestors, the looters quickly moved in, parked their cars, smashed their way into businesses, and made off with whatever merchandise they could find. Among the businesses looted were a Target three blocks away from us, the Italian deli I usually walk to, the Vons Supermarket across the street from it, several local pharmacies, a smoke shop, and a branch of Recreational Equipment Inc (REI).
It looks like a series of professional hits by organized gangs. Protestors are usually lucky if they can march from point A to point B and remember a simple chant. Very sad. I was just thinking that I wanted to visit Santa Monica and Santa Monica Bay. Please stay safe in more ways than one!
Good point: The looters were very tightly organized. They used police radios to see where the protestors were and then flooded 911 with calls attenuating the police presence to areas they did not intend to hit.
The looters would be the first to scream for the police to help them if they were attacked by anyone bigger/uglier than themselves. Too many ugly humans around at such chaotic times.
My old office at the corner of 7th and Broadway was trashed and the two ground floor businesses ransacked and looted. The looting was organized and highly mobile. It is how organized crime would take advantage of police being spread thin and deploying only to a peaceful march. Sadly, the looting has eroded the power of the message, and the memory of George Floyd. Media coverage needs to focus on the thousands of peaceful people marching on behalf of justice for George Floyd and equal justice and fair treatment for people of color.