The vandalism and looting that followed the peaceful protest in Pan Pacific Park on Saturday made its way to Larchmont Blvd. late last night and early this morning. Shoppers at Sunday’s Larchmont Farmers Market were surprised to see that several stores had been vandalized but fortunately, the majority of the street was untouched by graffiti and broken glass compared to block of nearby Melrose Avenue and Beverly Boulevard.
Rite Aid was open Sunday morning, despite having been broken into last night. A store employee told us that one group stole medicine from the pharmacy followed by another group who stole cigarettes and men’s shaving items. A window was broken at Baby Cakes Bakery which was also open for business this morning. Near the south end of the street, Blends Shoe Store was looted and virtually all the shoes were taken except the display shoes. Nearby Movint, a women and children’s clothing store, was also broken into and some items were stolen. Store owner Bella Choi told us she has to check her inventory to know exactly what was taken. Neither store was in the process of reopening as now permitted by the City’s public health order, nor could they tell us when they might reopen. Fortunately, most other businesses on the street escaped unscathed.
The Larchmont Farmers Market was open but closed early at noon instead of 2 p.m. as a precaution. The Mayor’s office has extended the curfew for tonight and many businesses are closing early or staying closed until the situation is more stable.
Raj Patel at Larchmont Dry Cleaning who is open today and was open yesterday and captured video of thousands of protestors peacefully walking west on Beverly Blvd around 3:30 p.m. We posted the three minute video at this link.
We caught up CD4 Councilmember David Ryu and his staff helping paint out graffiti at the U.S. Post Office next door to Pan Pacific Park on Beverly Blvd. Ryu went over to thank the 65 person crew from the Bureau of Street Services who had been working since 7 a.m. this morning. Supervisor Edgar Duncan told us he had 25 dump trucks and 5 skip loaders sweeping glass off the sidewalks, picking up debris and carrying away trash that had been left from the protest. He was dismissing some workers and getting ready to bring in fresh crew. Duncan told us the clean up efforts were concentrated on Beverly Blvd. and Melrose Avenue between La Brea and Fairfax Avenue.
Councilmember Ryu told the Buzz he was hoping to learn more about what caused the protest to morph into vandalism. We heard from several neighbors who attended the protest tell us it was very peaceful and well organized. The Black Lives Matter organizers had done an excellent job delivering a clear message to hold the police accountable for the death of George Floyd and many others. They told us most protestors wore masks and maintained social distancing. They said the crowd was very diverse, though mostly young, and some families attended. They were surprised to learn of the vandalism and destruction that followed much later in the afternoon. One attendee said it was almost as if one group came to protest and others “infiltrated” tagging and vandalizing as people were leaving the area.
Nearby, The Original Farmers Market, which had been tagged with graffiti, has already been cleaned and crews have replaced broken windows and repaired other damaged caused by vandals. Fortunately, the market closed early Saturday afternoon and did not suffer any major property damage.
“We have been in major cleanup mode,” Ilysha Buss, Director of Marketing told the Buzz. “We’ve gotten such an outpouring of support on our social media, and people from the neighborhood have come by offering to help clean.”
Buss said they are hoping to re-open the market soon, possibly as early as tomorrow. We are waiting to hear more about the repairs at The Grove.