LOS ANGELES - Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore praised protesters who kept their actions peaceful throughout the weekend and Monday, but said they would not hesitate to arrest looters and rioters.
"We all saw a man's life snuffed out. The promise of his life and the purpose of America that day was met with something fundamentally un-American," Garcetti said, adding that violence does not bring back George Floyd, the man killed by Minneapolis police last Monday, but instead it tarnishes his memory.
Monday evening Mayor Garcetti tweeted: "The responsibility for George Floyd’s death rests solely with the police officers involved. Chief Moore regrets the words he chose this evening and has clarified them."
"The common ground that African Americans in this country share because of the devastating legacy of slavery and racism ... every American must own and feel, and I believe we did and do."
Garcetti said in Los Angeles and across the nation he saw, "The good police officers together with the good people, those (officers) who spoke out in a way I had never seen in the history of this country, unequivocally, to call (Floyd's death) `murder."'
Garcetti said he's been out on the streets of Los Angeles and that people were overwhelmingly peacefully protesting, but that some people had come to simply cause mayhem and loot.
"We're throwing everything we have at maintaining the peace, and we're going to throw everything we have on promoting justice, and nobody out there need pick between those two," Garcetti said.
Los Angeles is under a curfew that started at 6 p.m. and expires at 6 a.m. Tuesday.
"This is not a step that anybody takes lightly, but it is done for all our safety, done to protect families and businesses and workers," Garcetti said. "For anybody who breaks the law and anybody thinking that it's getting easier out there ... you're wrong.
"Don't be dumb. Don't make a mistake that lasts much more than today, but that can stay with you for months and years in your life. Don't do it."
Moore said the Los Angeles Police Department would be willing to join protesters in a peaceful demonstration, but said officers would not "assert" themselves into such an event.
Earlier Monday, protesters had asked to speak with Moore, and he said he would have obliged had he not been in the middle of another news conference. After that, protesters asked officers to take a knee in solidarity with them, and Moore said they did.
Moore also concurred with Garcetti that Floyd's death was not justified.
"What I saw there wasn't right," he said of the video footage. "And his death, a week later, has served as a catalyst for this for a number of events, certainly protests, but some are using it as a catalyst to justify violence," Moore said.
Moore also said an LAPD officer who suffered a fractured skull when he was struck by a brick Saturday is recovering at home, although he required"metal plates and staples and stitches."
"By the grace of God and the power of surgery and medicine, he was able to survive those injuries," Moore said.
Garcetti said Los Angeles business operators will be able to call the city for a free building inspection and have the debris removed at no charge due to looting over the last several days. If businesses received minimal damage, they can reopen as soon as repairs are made, he said, but other businesses damaged more heavily may need to apply for permits.
COVID-19 testing sites were closed early, if they were open at all, Monday throughout the city due to the protests, but Garcetti said they will reopen Tuesday, including the one at Dodger Stadium, which now has the ability to test 7,700 people a day.