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Broken glass, empty shoeboxes, and a single open McDonalds: Photos show a scene of destruction in Santa Monica after looters made their way through businesses

black owned business LA protests photo by Stacey Leasca
  • On May 31, peaceful protesters took to the streets of Santa Monica, California, to protest police brutality and the recent killing of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis.
  • Similar protests have been unfolding across the country.
  • When afternoon arrived in Santa Monica, looters began to smash storefronts and to graffiti the local courthouse before dispersing as police gained control around 8 p.m.
  • By 6:30 the next morning, the National Guard had rolled in, and the city's sanitation workers arrived to assist in cleanup efforts.
  • Local residents also pitched in to help clear the sidewalks of shattered glass and clothes hangers pulled from looted retailers.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Over the last several days, thousands of people have taken to the streets across the country to protest police brutality against minorities and in the name of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a white police officer in Minneapolis pinned him to the ground under his knee for nearly nine minutes.
May 31 saw peaceful protests starting up in Santa Monica, California. Hundreds of people marched along Ocean Avenue toward the Santa Monica Place Mall.
Amid the protest, looting also broke out. Storefronts along the Santa Monica Promenade, up Fourth Street, and into the mall were all targeted.
santa monica LA protests photo by Stacey Leasca
According to The Los Angeles Times, the looters appeared to be part of an organized attack. Witnesses told the LA Times that cars dropped people off in front of businesses. Looters smashed windows and grabbed what they could from stores before jumping back into awaiting vehicles.
By mid-afternoon, police were activated, clearing looters from one store to the next, before finally taking control of the neighborhood around 8 p.m. By morning, the only thing left was broken glass and several dozen newly placed National Guard members throughout the city.
This is what the morning after looked like in Santa Monica.
SEE ALSO: Shattered storefronts and 'eat the rich' graffiti: Photos show the aftermath of destruction in luxury stores that were looted and vandalized during the protests
READ MORE: A Sunday in America: An hour-by-hour look inside the protests that unfolded in major cities across the US from noon to midnight

The destruction of property spread all the way to the end of Main Street, at the border of Venice and Santa Monica, where the windows of the CVS under the famed Ballerina Clown sculpture were broken. Police maintained a presence outside the store well into the morning.



Stores along Abbot Kinney, a popular shopping area for locals and tourists alike, were boarded up. Some, like the restaurant Neighbor (seen below), left messages on the wooden planks expressing support of the Black Lives Matter movement and denoting that it is a black-owned business.



The Santa Monica courthouse was tagged with anti-police graffiti. Several windows were smashed.



The National Guard posted up in the middle of the intersection, just before the Santa Monica Promenade in front of the courthouse, with heavily armored trucks.



A single National Guard member stood in front of the courthouse.



Along Ocean Avenue, more National Guard members blocked off the entrance to the famed Santa Monica Pier. The National Guard warned people that the walkway and pier were closed.



By 6:30 a.m., the official City of Santa Monica sanitation crews arrived on the Promenade to assist in cleanup efforts.



On 4th Street, looters had ransacked the Patagonia store, leaving little behind. Official cleanup crews and people who appeared to be employees began the cleanup process.



Across the street, a number of Patagonia hangers remained on the ground next to an empty Nike shoebox.



Looters also took out the doors and windows to Sweetgreen, a salad chain restaurant. It appeared that much of the store's produce was left behind.



Down the block, the Les Miller, OD, an optometrist office and eyeglass store that had opened just two days prior, was also cleared out. A pair of pink glasses remained on the sidewalk in the broken glass.



The store owner looked on in shock, noting the looters took his monitors but left his computer inside. By 7 a.m., he had yet to go inside the store. Outside, three neighborhood volunteers gathered to assist in the cleanup effort.



"I live in this community and I watched the whole protest go down and it was very peaceful at first and then it wasn't," resident Sharron Sanchez shared as she swept. "This is where I live. I walk on these streets every day and I can't sit home and do nothing. I have to come out and help my community."



Just a few blocks north of Les Miller, the Vons supermarket was taped off with caution tape as store workers stood outside. Several security guards looked on.



On the corner of Colorado Ave., three National Guard members took a morning break with food from the one business that remained open: McDonald's.



By 8 a.m., back at the courthouse, a small crew had arrived to attempt to paint over the graffiti, and try to start the day anew.




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