The Beverly Hills Police Department announced on Monday that the force would go on “full alert” beginning on Halloween and continuing through next week due to possible social unrest. Officers will have backup from other law enforcement personnel and private security teams. Meanwhile, the city plans to shut down one of the most iconic streets lining its posh shopping district on Election Day.
In a video posted on the city’s social media platforms, Beverly Hills Police Chief Dominick Rivetti said luxury goods retailers “may choose to limit operations during this time.” He indicated Rodeo Drive would be closed on November 3 and the following day from Santa Monica Boulevard to Wilshire Boulevard, a stretch worldly renowned for its elegant fashion boutiques.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “the move came as City Hall encouraged some businesses to board up their high-end stores.” Looters and vandals targeted the vicinity in May when police used tear gas to disperse a crowd after declaring an unlawful assembly. The problems stemmed from a series of demonstrations throughout L.A. County expressing outrage over the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who had died while in the custody of Minneapolis cops.
WATCH: Police Chief Dominick Rivetti shares a message about Election Week in the City of Beverly Hills. pic.twitter.com/bbr3Q4eX5K
— CityofBeverlyHills (@CityofBevHills) October 26, 2020
“As election day approaches, and with the potential of increased demonstrations and protest activity across the region, the city is taking a proactive approach to ensure a safe community for residents, businesses, and visitors,” Chief Rivetti said in the video.
The L.A. Times reports:
Beverly Hills has been the site of peaceful protests both by Black Lives Matter demonstrators and supporters of President Trump. In August, supporters of President Trump took to the streets of Beverly Hills and faced off with a small group of counter-protesters in a skirmish. …
The city has raised eyebrows for filing criminal charges against some protesters.
Beverly Hills police used tear gas to break up large crowds of protesters on June 13. The department also tried to jail protesters accused of curfew violation who couldn’t post the $5,000 bail. Beverly Hills has taken a tough approach in the wake of protests, filing the misdemeanor curfew-violation charges against 25 people involved in a relatively calm June protest. Other municipalities in the L.A. region haven’t pursued such charges despite racking up thousands of arrests.
In L.A. County, Black liberation organizers and their allies frequently hold demonstrations around luxury shopping areas without incident. It’s part of a strategy to take their message directly to white communities.
After George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2013, a diverse group of protesters peacefully marched through Beverly Hills, condemning the jury’s decision. Originally called “Justice for Trayvon Martin, Los Angeles (#J4TMLA), the formation would later evolve into the Black Lives Matter Global Network’s founding chapter.
Dr. Melina Abdullah, who now leads Black Lives Matter-L.A., explained, “We want to disrupt the spaces that represent the forces who are oppressing us.”
“We decided we wanted to do a march,” she recalled in a 2017 interview with Rolling Stone, adding, “and we did it in Beverly Hills intentionally because that’s what represents white-supremacist, patriarchal, heteronormative capitalism.”
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