Armed Santa Monica Store Owners Rise Up to Defend Businesses from Rioters
California citizens stand guard to protect their property from 'protests'
Armed store owners in Santa Monica, California are rising up against violent protesters by standing guard to defend their businesses from attack, according to reports.
Fox News LA reporter Bill Melugin reported Sunday that some store owners are being forced to stand guard to protect their property.
Outside the “Helen’s Bicycles” store, two men were seen guarding the front while another stood atop the building's roof brandishing firearms.
“Armed business owners are now stationed outside and on top their properties in Santa Monica," Melugin said on Twitter alongside photos of the assumed store owners.
"They are taking their protection into their own hands now. @FOXLA.”
Earlier Sunday afternoon, NBC correspondent Gadi Schwartz stated: “Absolute Chaos along 4thstreet in Santa Monica … looting with impunity on both sides of the street.
"No police in sight," Schwartz added along with a video of a store being looted.
"We’ve watched this happen to dozens of stores for 45 minutes.”
Absolute Chaos along 4th street in Santa Monica... looting with impunity on both sides of the street. No police in sight. We’ve watched this happen to dozens of stores for 45 minutes now... pic.twitter.com/WOdEhIz3th— Gadi Schwartz (@GadiNBC) May 31, 2020
As the afternoon turned into evening, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villaneuva stated, “There are no lawful protestors left on the streets.
"We are about to bring buses and begin making mass arrests.”
L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villaneuva: "There are no lawful protestors left on the streets. We are about to bring busses and begin making mass arrests."— Robert Rand (@MenendezRand) June 1, 2020
Looting continuing in Santa Monica and Long Beach. pic.twitter.com/0BtueEPWjX
It appeared police in Santa Monica started making arrests as day turned into evening:
Actor James Woods, watching the mayhem, commented, “So I’m watching the looting in Santa Monica live on local TV.
"There’s a thug who puts an armful of clothing into his car and locks the door!
"Then off he goes to loot some more, but secure in the knowledge his swag is safe!
"There are levels of irony that are impossible to top.”
So I’m watching the looting in Santa Monica live on local TV. There’s a thug who puts an armful of clothing into his car and locks the door! Then off he goes to loot some more, but secure in the knowledge his swag is safe! There are levels of irony that are impossible to top.— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) June 1, 2020
Santa Monica, which abuts the Pacific Ocean, is not part of the city of Los Angeles; it has its own police department.
On Sunday afternoon, the city of Santa Monica issued a statement saying a curfew would be in place at 4 p.m., reading:
The City of Santa Monica will join our neighboring cities in extending our curfew to tonight, May 31, 2020 at 4 p.m. through tomorrow, Monday, June 1 at 5:30 a.m.
Emergency responders are exempt, as are those traveling to and from work or seeking or giving emergency care.
The City of Santa Monica values peaceful protest as vital to our democracy.
As of 1:15 p.m., a peaceful protest is underway along Ocean Avenue between Montana and Colorado.
The Santa Monica Police Department is on site and has a presence throughout the community.
The public’s safety is our top priority and we ask the community to avoid Ocean Avenue at this time.
The 3rd Street Promenade, which was trashed by rioters, is only blocks from Ocean Avenue.
On Saturday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) stated: “We have to be more resolved now than ever to do more and be better as human beings, as parents, as leader in our own right and to model better behavior.”
The governor urged protesters to express themselves “thoughtfully and gently — but forcefully” so that “we, collectively, can not only hear your voice but we can resolve to do something with the lesson that we learn.”