The tragic death of George Floyd while in custody of Minneapolis police has sparked emotional reaction across the United States and prompted peaceful protests that in some cases have unfortunately turned violent and led to looting.
Such was the case in Los Angeles on Saturday, when a Black Lives Matter movement gathered in Pan Pacific Park. However, as the crowd left the gathering, with some continuing to march throughout the city, there were clashes with police, vandalism and the destruction of local businesses.
The L.A. riots and those in other major cities have unfortunately overshadowed the initial message of standing against racism, which several professional sports teams, celebrities and other public figures have worked to keep the focus on.
“We condemn racism, bigotry, violence and prejudice in all its forms,” the Lakers said in a statement. “Everyone has the right to live free from fear and to be treated with dignity and respect. We hear the pain of our Black community and we will not stay silent.”
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) May 31, 2020
LeBron James, who has never been one to shy away from addressing social issues, has posted multiple messages to his social media accounts over the past handful of days. Alex Caruso and Kyle Kuzma are among James’ Lakers teammates to also address Floyd’s death.
The rioting Saturday night prompted the entire city of Los Angeles to be placed under curfew and Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency, which enacted the National Guard. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti initially set a curfew for only downtown Los Angeles, and said he hoped to avoid calling on the National Guard.
During what’s been a difficult year, it’s important for citizens to band together against racism and bigotry, and also protect the city from those who have ulterior motives.