After night of protests, North Long Beach cleans up the mess

 

Long Beach residents converged at Houghton Park Monday morning to help clean up vandalized businesses that were targeted by looters following a night of demonstrations against police brutality.

“Unfortunately, there was a separate element that involved some looting and some damage to property,” Joni Ricks-Oddi, vice president of the DeForest Park Neighborhood Association, said. “I care about my community, and I wanted to help come and organize the cleanup.”

Residents who came out to clean were given brooms and gloves and sent to neighborhoods where businesses were reportedly damaged. While most of the cases of looting and vandalism were seen Downtown, businesses such as Shoe Palace, Metro PCS and Empeño Pawn Shop in North Long Beach were found littered with broken glass, damaged storefronts and stolen merchandise.

Masina Tuufuli and her husband teamed up with another group of volunteers to remove broken glass from the street outside Empeño Pawn Shop at the intersection of Long Beach Boulevard and Market Street.

“To see people who don’t even live in the city come here–– but [then] seeing the community come out,” her voice trembled, as she held back tears and reflected on the events that unfolded the night before. “We’re just hands and feet, and that’s what we’re all about.”

The demonstrations that sparked last week following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer have echoed across the nation.

Protests in Long Beach Sunday evening began peacefully, but like many demonstrations nationwide, quickly devolved into vandalism and looting. Instances of officers using force and firing rubber bullets into the crowds punctuated the movement as night crept in.

The Long Beach Police Department stated via its official Twitter account that 73 individuals were arrested for varying reasons, including vandalism, looting and curfew violations.

An estimated 40 businesses citywide were impacted amidst the protests Sunday night.

“We’re in response mode right now,” LBPD Chief Robert Luna said.

The protests triggered curfews and the activation of the National Guard.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correctly identify Shoe Palace

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