After days of protests and riots in southern CA cities, local citizens remained hopeful in their expression of peace and change. A protest against police brutality was planned for Santa Monica on Sunday afternoon.
Santa Monica is home to the Santa Monica Pier which is the official end of old Historic Route 66 that spans westward to the Pacific Ocean. The city also boasts multiple outdoor parks, outdoor shopping and dining areas, and beautiful beaches. The town is known for being safe, clean, and friendly. But like the protests from previous days in other parts of the city, this one would end in destruction.
After most protesters left and began to disperse at the wrap up of the peaceful protest march, another group of individuals pulled up in cars, trucks and mini vans and started burning, destroying and looting the downtown district of our beloved coastal city.
The City of LA and other nearby cities sent forces to assist the Santa Monica Police Department and this strong presence along with National Guard helped to mitigate some of the violence and damages.
Still, many storefronts of all types were destroyed, shoe stores and pharmacies robbed, banks and small restaurant windows smashed, home good and health stores ransacked. The local Toyota dealership suffered damage to its main structure as well as multiple vehicles. The local CVS and Vons supermarket, essential community businesses, were so completely ransacked that they'll most likely have to remain closed to the public for weeks in order to address cleanup and repairs.
Cleaning crews are out and the tone of the city of Santa Monica today is somber. However the attitude of the people had not been deterred. I saw an overwhelming amount of citizens emerging from their homes with brooms, trash bags, buckets, and cloth rags in hand as they made their way to volunteer to help ransacked businesses clean up. While the loss of goods and property is quantifiable within dollar amounts, the love and community support on display right now is not.
Below are photos of my walk through downtown Santa Monica from Lincoln Boulevard heading westward.
Beware: some images are graphic and intended only for mature audiences.