Looters in Santa Monica, California, have ransacked more than 80 stores in the city's downtown area. CBS News correspondent Jon Vigliotti was live on the scene when protesters vandalized stores and hollowed out businesses. The footage captured one looter using a Black Lives Matter sign to cover her face as she participated in the looting.
"What you're seeing is people of all ages, all backgrounds, helping themselves, using Black Lives Matters as a reason," Vigliotti reported.
Vigliotti received no response when he asked the looters if they were part of the Black Lives Matter movement.
VIDEO: On @CBSEveningNews, correspondent @JonVigliotti calls out looter using 'Black Lives Matter' sign to hide her face. He chases down others, asking if they were with BLM as they jumped on a motorcycle and fled. pic.twitter.com/LeIWopHYbh— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) June 2, 2020
Calls for Santa Monica Police Chief Cynthia Renaud to step down are gaining steam after video footage showed police officers standing idly by as looters vandalized stores and made off with merchandise. More than 400 arrests were made in the city, but those arrests came only after looters had done their damage. Several streetfights have also broken out in the city during the riots.
"Many of us have witnessed firsthand the deterioration of the Santa Monica police force’s ability to maintain order and decency on our streets over the last few years — from record numbers of burglaries and violent crimes to willfully allowing rampant vagrancy," Oliver Greene wrote in a petition to remove Chief Renaud that has received more than 27,000 signatures.
"We need and deserve strong, resounding leadership in Santa Monica’s police force, particularly during today’s volatile times," Greene continued.
It's hard to differentiate between the protesters and criminals when both are hiding behind the Black Lives Matter movement. With communities now reeling from widespread devastation and continuing violence, including the killing of black police officers, the George Floyd protests are doing more harm than good. It's time for those who say they care about black lives to come up with a better way to protest, one that doesn't provide cover to criminals and destroy the lives of the very people they claim to care about.