Seven people, four of them police officers, were treated for minor injuries after scuffles between police and protesters in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday night, according to authorities.
Demonstrators had organized the actions in response to federal agents being sent to Portland, Ore., to put down nightly protests that began two months ago following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.
One altercation erupted about 5:30 p.m., the Los Angeles Police Department said in a news release. Police said it started when some people in a crowd of peaceful protesters “began to direct physical assaults on officers,” but video captured by KTLA-TV shows a police officer shoving a woman outside the U.S. Courthouse on First Street, prompting a man to run over and push the officer to the ground.
— KTLA (@KTLA) July 26, 2020
The man was then surrounded by police officers and struck with a baton, the video shows, while officers pushed two other women who appeared to be trying to come to his aid, pinning one of them to the ground. At least one officer appeared to fire less-lethal projectiles into the crowd.
Four people were arrested, three on suspicion of battery on a police officer and one on suspicion of causing a disturbance, police said.
“The Los Angeles Police Department is committed to making certain that Angelenos can exercise their First Amendment rights peacefully, and we cannot allow violence and destruction of property to put anyone’s safety at risk — whether they be officers, demonstrators, or bystanders,” Chief Michel Moore said Sunday in a statement.
Protesters had also marched along the 101 Freeway, blocking traffic, and committed some acts of vandalism, police said.
Police had issued a citywide tactical alert in response to the protests, a move that allows the department to have more officers and resources available.
Another protest took place Sunday afternoon in Westwood. Video broadcast on local media outlets showed several hundred people gathered at Wilshire Boulevard and Veteran Avenue, not far from the Westwood Federal Building.
And in Oakland, a small group of demonstrators wearing helmets and goggles set fire to a courthouse, vandalized a police station and shot fireworks at officers, authorities said.
Times staff writer Paloma Esquivel and the Associated Press contributed to this report.