Los Angeles prosecutors say they won’t charge thousands of protesters arrested for violating curfew and other police orders
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LOS ANGELES — Thousands of Los Angeles protesters arrested for violating curfew and other police orders will not be charged with a crime, prosecutors said Monday as demonstrations persisted around California.
City Attorney Mike Feuer said his office will develop an alternative outside court that carries no punishment for those cited for violating curfew or failing to obey orders to leave demonstrations over George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police.
District Attorney Jackie Lacey said she won’t file charges in protest misdemeanor cases from other parts of Los Angeles County.
The city had the largest number of the 10,000 protest arrests in the U.S. tracked by The Associated Press. Demonstrations over police brutality and racial injustice have gripped the nation for days.
In the Los Angeles area, police and sheriff’s deputies arrested more than 3,000 people over days of mostly peaceful protests. About 2,500 of those were in the city for violating curfew or dispersal orders, according to figures the Los Angeles Police Department provided June 2. The LAPD didn’t have an updated figure Monday.
The city imposed curfews over five nights, and the county and surrounding cities ordered people to stay home over several nights of protests that had at times devolved into looting and violence. They used the curfew order to round up protesters who wouldn’t leave.
LA ended its curfew after the American Civil Liberties Union sued on behalf of Black Lives Matter, saying it suppressed First Amendment guarantees to political protest and freedom of movement.
Feuer did not provide specifics on how he would handle the cases but said some type of forum would bring protesters together with police and others to “create an environment where participants really listen to each other.”
Lorraine Curiel, a retired social worker who joined others on the streets Monday for a memorial service for Floyd, cheered the news and said it would help protesters who couldn’t afford lawyers.
“Yes! This is what needed to be done,” Curiel said. “It would have been yet another injustice.”
Prosecutors said they would keep pursuing charges for looting, burglary, vandalism and any violence. Lacey has already charged more than 60 people with felonies related to the protests, the majority for looting.
The decision not to bring charges followed a weekend of peaceful protests that pressed forward Monday.
In Oakland, demonstrators gathered to decry the weekend shooting of Erik Salgado, 23, whom organizers say was shot by California Highway Patrol officers in a neighborhood near a school. Protesters say officers fired dozens of times into a car, killing Salgado and injuring his pregnant girlfriend, who was in the passenger seat.
Oakland police, which are investigating the shooting, have only confirmed that a man was fatally shot and a female passenger is in stable condition at a hospital.
“They could have shot a child, they could have shot anybody, they could have shot into someone’s home and killed someone, but clearly they didn’t care. We want justice for Erik, we want it now,” said Hoku Jeffrey with a civil rights group known as By Any Means Necessary.
In the Los Angeles area, funeral-style car processions culminated with a remembrance service for Floyd, a black man who died two weeks ago after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into his neck for several minutes.
Hundreds of people chanted Floyd’s name and “Black Lives Matter!”
A final public viewing for Floyd is being held at a Houston church Monday, and his funeral will be Tuesday.
Meanwhile, officials said California National Guard troops were being pulled out of cities that had requested them to back up police.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said some troops began departing Sunday evening and a small number would be stationed nearby to provide emergency support if needed.
More than 7,000 National Guard troops had been deployed to LA, San Francisco, Sacramento and other cities, the Guard said.
Associated Press journalists Christopher Weber in Los Angeles and Janie Har in San Francisco.