An armed civilian stood with an unarmed female protester on Sunday at the door of the REI store in Santa Monica, California, turning away a group of would-be looters who tried to smash into the store during a Black Lives Matter protest.
An earlier, peaceful “Black Lives Matter” demonstration along Ocean Boulevard to protest the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last week turned violent as looters targeted nearby retail stores.
KTTV Fox Los Angeles journalist Koco McAboy was filming with her crew as a group of masked, black-clad white males started smashing the glass doors of the REI store, on the corner of 4th Street and Santa Monica Boulevard.
A young, slender woman with a sign reading “End All Violence” stood at the doors and pleaded with the looters to stop. They attacked her, pulling her arm to move her away from the doors, but she returned to her position. She was joined by a large man with a sign that read “We Protest, No Loot!!”. The attackers even threw a smoke bomb as they left, but the two stood their ground. It later transpired that the man was carrying a concealed weapon.
“Natalie” and “Zeshaun” later spoke to McAboy on live television, and Zeshaun revealed that he was armed.
— Oscar Flores (@oflores) May 31, 2020
“He threatened to pull a gun on me,” Zeshaun said of one of the looters. “Thank God, that, like, I was able to tell them, I carry, you’re not supposed to do that, I told him, like, you need to back off. I was also recording. Once he saw the phone, and he knew I was carrying, he stopped, and he left. And I am just thankful to God that I remained safe.”
Natalie told McAboy that she and Zeshaun camel to the protest not only to support the cause, but also to protect local businesses. “We are here for the protest, but when we see people looting, it dilutes the cause,” she said.
Zeshaun added, passionately: “This is about George Floyd. This is not about a selfish game. This is about all the suffering that we have been put through — people of color, that we don’t have anything … But we can’t take it out on other people. These local people, they have nothing to do with this. And George Floyd would be upset.”
In 2018, Santa Monica schools joined nationwide walkouts in solidarity with Democrats’ efforts at gun control.
Update: The City of Santa Monica imposed a 4:00 p.m. curfew on Sunday in response to the escalating violence.
#BREAKINGNEWS Stores being looted at Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica as peaceful protest escalates to unrest. City imposes curfew to begin at 4 p.m. today, through 5:30 a.m. Monday. pic.twitter.com/5PtDveQMLj
— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) May 31, 2020
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.