Hundreds of protestors took to the streets of downtown Los Angeles Wednesday for a demonstration in the name of George Floyd, a black man who died after being pinned beneath a Minneapolis police officer’s knee.
A large group broke away and got onto the 101 Freeway around 6 p.m., blocking traffic on both sides of the freeway during rush hour as Los Angeles Police Department officers and Los Angeles Fire Department units responded.
At one point, some people surrounded a California Highway Patrol car and were seen banging on it and kicking it as the vehicle drove through the crowd on the freeway near Alameda Street. Several climbed onto the car’s hood and then fell off as it drove away, aerial video from Sky5 showed.
One person was seen rolling off the hood and hitting the ground as the patrol car sped up.
Firefighters were later seen treating the person, who was lying on the ground in the midst of the crowd, before transporting him in an ambulance. Officials did not provide information on the person’s condition.
Video showed protestors smashing the rear window of a second patrol car that approached after the person fell.
Protestors later marched away from the freeway and towards the Metropolitan Detention Center.
The event was largely peaceful, and many were seen wearing face masks and holding signs as they participated. Black Lives Matter, which organized the protest, had asked demonstrators to practice social distancing and wear masks amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The protestors raised their fists in solidarity and held up flags and signs saying “Black Lives Matter” and “Justice for George Floyd.”
“We hear your anger & your pain,” the Los Angeles Police Department told demonstrators on Twitter. “We will always facilitate freedom of speech. Period. All we ask is that protests are held in a safe & legal manner.”
Because the protestors blocked the freeway, LAPD issued a citywide tactical alert so that there would be more officers available to respond if needed, Officer Mike Lopez said.
L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva also released a statement asking demonstrators to keep the protest peaceful.
“Violence is unwarranted and takes away from the message. I urge all of us to protest peacefully for the sake of everyone’s public safety,” he said.
The group also planned to demonstrate in front of L.A. District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s office to protest in the name of those who died in L.A. police custody.
No arrests were made and no other injuries were reported, according to LAPD.
Floyd’s death sparked violent protests in Minneapolis for two nights in a row as residents took to the streets to share their anger and grief.
The demonstrations come after cellphone video that has gone viral showed an officer kneeling on Floyd ‘s neck as the 46-year-old man begged, “please, please, please, I can’t breathe,” before he eventually became unresponsive.