RAFU STAFF REPORT
Several businesses on Second Street in Little Tokyo were looted early Saturday morning, amid demonstrations in downtown Los Angeles against police brutality following the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Video by a Little Tokyo Business Improvement District patrol member showed the windows being smashed at RIF LA, a sneaker store. Clayson, a gift store that sells collegiate apparel, and Little Tokyo Pharmacy in Honda Plaza were also damaged, along with Maneki Neko and Oomasa in Japanese Village Plaza.
Kouraku on Second Street has announced that as a precaution it will not be open for dinner on Saturday.
Brian Kito of the Little Tokyo Public Safety Association said he received a call about reports of looting at 2:15 a.m. from a resident of AVA, a residential complex on Second and Los Angeles streets.
He expressed concern that the close proximity of Little Tokyo to City Hall and LAPD headquarters would leave it vulnerable during civil unrest. During the L.A. riots in 1992, windows were smashed at Japanese Village Plaza, Weller Court and what was then the New Otani Hotel on Los Angeles Street.
“I’ve been in contact with the chief’s adjutant and did express some concern that they should put some efforts into calling in the National Guard like they did in 1992 and make a perimeter around the (police) station,” Kito said. “If they defend just the station when they forcefully get them moving, then we’re in the path.”
The 1992 unrest followed the not-guilty verdicts in the police beating of Rodney King.
People took to the streets Friday for the third consecutive night to demand justice for Floyd, an African American who died Monday after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by a white Minneapolis Police Department officer, Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee on the 46-year-old man’s neck for several minutes while three other officers looked on.
Video footage of the arrest, in which Floyd is heard saying, “I can’t breathe,” went viral, and all four officers were fired.
Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter on Friday.
The death of Floyd and other unarmed African American men killed by police was protested in major cities across the country, from San Jose to Washington, D.C.
Los Angeles has issued a curfew from 8 p.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Sunday.