Some LA business owners support protesters, but feel anger toward looters

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A woman gets out of the way as demonstrators smash a police car in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles. Photo by Angel Carreras/KCRW

Activists staged largely peaceful demonstrations across Los Angeles over the weekend, ignited by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis after police violently detained him. 

His words, “I can’t breathe,” have become a national rallying cry.

But small fringe groups turned to violence, torching cop cars and looting stores in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and downtown.

“It was really bad,” says Lizbeth Amador, who works for the LA Department of General Services and was cleaning up damage on Sunday. “Graffiti everywhere. Broken windows. They even got inside the building. Destroyed a lot of stuff inside. It’s sad because I’ve worked downtown for 15 years. And we understand the pain of the family and the person who got killed. But there’s no reason to destroy our city. We live here.”

While many business owners and protesters condemned the property damage, some people were sympathetic.

“Black people are dying,” says Ernie Flores, who manages the Down N Out Bar in Downtown LA. “And the only way that that people are going to be heard right now is [by] doing what they're doing. A lot of people are taking hits, but I think most of the owners, at least the business owners here, understand why.”

Evening curfews remain in effect in many parts of LA.

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