One day after Sunday night’s unrest in Long Beach, Mayor Robert Garcia said about 85 people were arrested while looting and vandalism spread across the city, but days later, the police department clarified that most of those people were released with a citation, not booked into jail as they would be in a typical arrest.
Total of 28 people were taken to jail between the hours of 3:30 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. Monday, mostly on burglary and looting charges, according to booking records. The remainder, 56 people, were briefly taken into custody before being cited and released, meaning they were given a date to appear in court.
LBPD spokesman Ivan Garcia said the department still counts those citations as arrests, which is why the mayor included them in the larger number he announced Monday.
But it’s unknown what the citations were for. On Saturday, the department declined to provide details on them, saying it would require approval from the City Attorney’s office and possibly a formal public records request. Police departments are legally required to promptly release arrest information.
Of the 28 people booked into jail, 21 were arrested primarily for burglary or felony looting. One person was arrested for being in possession of stolen property. One person was arrested for arson. One was arrested for brandishing a fake gun, and one for possessing a homemade zip gun. One person was also arrested for domestic violence and 2 were arrested on warrants, but it’s unclear if those cases are related to the civil unrest.
Most of the people arrested (15) were not residents of Long Beach. Local officials have repeatedly said they believe organized groups of criminals were responsible for the bulk of the crime Sunday, using the massive protest as cover to loot and steal.
Police have also come under criticism after photos and live video showed the looting as it unfolded, sometimes with officers watching from nearby. In some cases, the thieves pulled up cars to load with stolen goods before taking off. City officials denied the notion that officers stood by as people looted local businesses.
The mayor said it earlier, if you’re coming to this city to involve yourself in either looting or committing crimes or hurting people, we’re going to come after you, we’re gonna to put you in jail, and we’re gonna get you prosecuted. We will not accept this in this city.”
So far, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office has charged 3 people with felony looting in Long Beach. Other cases have been referred back to police for more investigation, thrown out because of a lack of evidence or referred to local prosecutors for possible misdemeanor charges, the DA’s office said.