SANTA MONICA, California — Business owners awoke Monday morning to broken glass, graffiti, and heartbreak in downtown Santa Monica, the scene of looting and riots on the fringe of a Black Lives Matter protest Sunday afternoon.
While several hundred demonstrators participated in a peaceful march along Ocean Boulevard to voice outrage at the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, hundreds of looters terrorized nearby stores.
The results were visible the next morning, as the owners of mom-and-pop stores arrived to clean up the wreckage and assess the damage.
Several volunteers from the community — some of whom told Breitbart News they supported the Black Lives Matter cause — arrived with brooms and dustpans to assist in the cleanup effort.
Stunned locals gathered at 4th Street and Santa Monica Boulevard, where the Sake House had been set alight.
Some volunteers cleaned up near the appropriately-named Solidarity restaurant, a popular local Polish eatery.
One of the women cleaning up told Breitbart News that she and her neighbors simply wanted to help. Wearing a T-shirt that said, “DOGS: because people suck,” she said that she supported the peaceful protests but not the violence.Joel B. Pollak / Breitbart News
An employee of the local Goodwill store, which caters to the poor and the homeless, swept broken glass away.
Among the storefronts vandalized was the local Kumon branch, a minority-owned business providing tutoring services to the children in the community.
Nearby, vandals tagged the local public library with anti-police graffiti and profanity.
National Guard troops were posted on street corners outside the Santa Monica Place mall, the scene of mass looting.
Across the road from the mall, volunteers — African American, Latino, white — volunteers to help clean up the debris at a local optometrists’s store, owned by an immigrant who came to the United States thirty-five years ago.
He told Breitbart News that he had just reopened his store on Tuesday, and had lost everything to looters. He said he was insured and hoped to recoup the loss, and was grateful for the help of volunteers.
One of the volunteers cleaning up told Breitbart News that she had a son in the military and wanted to do her part to help her community.Joel B. Pollak / Breitbart News
Some of the graffiti nearby expressed political slogans; some of it was simply nihilistic — “Life Ends Tonite” — or obscene.
While the small businesses seemed hardest hit — though seemingly at random — large retail chains were also targeted.
Further away from downtown, the damage was more sporadic, but left its mark all along Santa Monica Boulevard.
Several volunteers told Breitbart News they had shown up at sunrise because they wanted to be “part of the solution.”
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.