The chief of the Los Angeles Police Department said today that George Floyd’s death was on the hands of the protestors arrested in the city as much as it is on the officers who killed him, before reconsidering his comments.
LAPD boss Michel Moore spoke at a media conference with LA mayor Eric Garcetti today where he announced there were “just under 700 arrests” in Los Angeles the prior night.
“Of that, just under 70 were for looting and burglarising,” he said before linking their actions to Floyd’s death.
“His death is on their hands, as much as it is on those officers,” he added.
Mr Garcetti continued with the conference before saying Mr Moore had reconsidered some of his comments and calling him back to the podium.
“I misspoke when I said his blood was on their hands, but certainly their actions do not serve the enormity of his loss,” he said.
“What his name should stand for is the catalyst for change. I regret the remarks of that characterisation, but I don’t regret, nor will I apologise to those out there creating destruction. His memory deserves better.
“His death was at the hands of those police officers. What I saw there wasn’t right.”
National Guard soldiers were deployed in LA and other cities to back up police force.
Thieves smashed their way in more than 20 cities into stores — carrying away armloads of sneakers, clothes and electronics.
Armed members of the Guard protected Los Angeles City Hall yesterday after upheaval in the nation’s second-largest city and then rolled into suburban Santa Monica and Long Beach as throngs savaged businesses there.
Mayor Garcetti denounced the mayhem as having nothing to do with protests by those outraged by the death of Mr Floyd, a handcuffed black man seen in a video pleading for air as a white Minneapolis officer pressed a knee on his neck.
“Criminals are wrong to think that they can hijack this message, undermine this movement and divide us — they will not,” Mr Garcetti said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report