At least two federal buildings, including a courthouse in downtown Los Angeles were damaged Saturday night as hundreds of protesters marched through downtown while police used less-lethal rounds on a small group that smashed windows.
The Los Angeles Police Department issued a citywide alert around 7 p.m. on Saturday due to the protests and the alert remained in effect for the downtown area through the morning, according to Officer Mike Lopez.
In a statement, LAPD said Saturday’s march was interrupted after 5:30 p.m. when a group “inside a large crowd of protestors” attacked police officers who were following the demonstration.
The group of people eventually ended up on a busy freeway according to the LAPD and four officers and three protesters were treated for minor injuries. Three people were arrested for battery on a police officer and one person who had a machete was arrested for causing a disturbance.
Some less-lethal rounds dotted the sidewalk around the First Street Federal Courthouse, where the front doors and windows were smashed in and graffiti was sprayed onto the side of the building. The protesters did not make it inside the building, according to U.S. Marshals who surveyed the outside of the building on Sunday morning.
Another federal courthouse less than a mile away was also vandalized, with the doors smashed in and the façade of the building spray-painted with graffiti.
Widely circulated videos from the protest on Saturday showed a person with a hammer smash the windows at the federal building’s entrance on North Los Angeles Street. The building often handles immigration, tax and housing court filings.
Protesters also broke into the entrance of the nearby Metropolitan Detention Center. On Sunday morning, guards and a cleaning crew surveyed the damage on North Alameda Street, where graffiti dotted the side of the building.
Saturday’s protest began as a solidarity march with protesters in Portland, Oregon who have been assaulted by federal police officers in recent days.
LA County has seen a consistent stream of protests and rallies since the end of May, including the Black Lives Matter movement in solidarity with the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.
A spokesperson for the federal courthouses did not immediately answer an email for comment on the damage to the buildings and if services would be impacted on Monday.
— By Nathan Solis, CNS