SMPD Faced ‘Terrible Dilemma,’ Mayor Says Of Sunday Looting

Written by on June 8, 2020

Santa Monica mayor Kevin McKeown is defending the decision by Santa Monica police to abandon the downtown part of the city to looters 8 days ago.

The mayor says Police Chief Cynthia Renaud was faced with a “terrible dilemma” — to control an increasingly violent demonstration near the Pier or attempt to stop the looters east of third street.

But that characterization is at odds with TV pictures from the pier … which showed a peaceful sit in the street … penned in by 100 police officers.

The mayor said police had limited forces to control both thousands of protesters … and organized looters that descended on the beach city Sunday afternoon.

Organized looters had free reign east of Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade for nearly six hours.

TV choppers and ground crews showed Santa Monica police surrounding peaceful protesters at the pier … as sheriff’s deputies pouted in to a command post at the Santa Monica Place mall. 

But no police or deputies moved east into the lawless business district for hours and hours.

Why? came the question.

Teh answer now from Santa Monica’s mayor … who spoke to a neighborhood group … where a reported fromt he Santa Monica Lookout newspaper was in attendance.

“We couldn’t have sent our police into the middle of that because with hundreds of people running around we only had 100 officers,” said McKeown … according to the Lookout newspaper.

“The hundred officers, had they gone into the middle of Downtown, would have been followed by innocent marchers and would have confronted the looters with very little chance of stopping them.”

Confronting the looters — who arrived in getaway cars armed with crowbars and drills — could have resulted in people dying, the Mayor said.

“The thing I’m most grateful for about Sunday is we got out of that without loss of life,” McKeown told the neighborhood group … as reported by the Santa Monica Lookout. 

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