People protesting police violence and the death of George Floyd gathered in front of Long Beach Police Department headquarters on Broadway on Sunday afternoon, joining many other demonstrations regional and nationwide.
At around 3 p.m., hundreds of protesters showed up bearing signs that showed support for Black Lives Matter. A temporary metal fence and barricade blocked the police building as hundreds of protesters marched on Broadway heading toward the library.
In Long Beach in front of LBPD headquarters where a protest over George Floyd’s death is already underway. A temporary metal fence and barricade is blocking the police building. Hundreds of protesters on Broadway heading toward the library right now
As demonstrators chanted, “Black lives matter,” a police helicopter whirled from above.
Floyd, 46, was an unarmed black man who died in police custody after a Minneapolis officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes on Monday, May 25. In widely spread cellphone footage, Floyd told the officers, “I can’t breathe” several times before he became unresponsive and died.
Four Minneapolis police officers involved in the incident were fired shortly after. The officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck was arrested and charged for murder on Friday.
Floyd’s death sparked protests and riots across the country, including in Los Angeles where demonstrations turned violent and city officials have imposed a curfew. As of Sunday morning, Long Beach did not have a curfew.
Mayor Robert Garcia issued a statement at 2:40 p.m.: “America with all of our diversity has a dark and long history with race — and Long Beach has not been exempt from this. Over the last several days and after nearly three months of battling COVID-19 as a nation, we are seeing civil unrest and protests. We hear you and are listening.”
Long Beach leaders were expecting local protests, Garcia said.
“For those who are choosing to participate, it is vital that you exercise your first amendment rights safely and without harm to life or property. Take care of each other and our community,” he said in the statement.
“Long Beach prides ourselves in our diversity and our long march towards justice. We can do better — and we will.”
Long Beach police brought in additional officers to work the protest and to ensure there were sufficient personnel available to respond to any other citywide incidents, police spokeswoman Karen Owens said in a Sunday morning call with reporters. More personnel could be added if needed, she said.
“The goal is to try to minimize the likelihood of property damage,” Owens said.