What was billed as a demonstration Saturday night at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vicente Boulevard appeared to devolve into a dance party as the night wore on.
More than 100 people turned out for the event, which took place at 6:30 p.m. Saturday night and was billed as Black Lives Matter event. A social media post promoting it invited people to come and “dance for Black lives,” noting there would be dancing, a DJ, and libations. The post also declared “No Justice No Peace F-ck LASD.”
The crowd was mostly made up of young people of various ethnicities, all wearing face coverings. Some carried signs declaring Black Lives Matter and calling out issues such as the death of Dijon Kizzee, a 29-year-old Black man who died in South L.A. on Aug. 31 after Sheriff’s deputies fired 19 bullets at him. The deputies had stopped Kizzee for riding a bicycle on the wrong side of the street and alleged that he pulled a gun on them, an allegation that has been disputed. There also was a moment of silence in honor of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday.
As of 9:30 p.m., the event was still going on, with dancing in the street and demonstrators shouting at Sheriff’s deputies standing across San Vicente Boulevard in large military-looking vehicles, wearing helmets and carrying rubber bullet guns. The event appeared to have no impact on the crowd at Rocco’s, the restaurant and bar on the southwest corner of Santa Monica and San Vicente, where tables on the sidewalk outside were filled with those drinking and dining. The outdoor dining zone just east of the intersection in front of Z Pizza and Fiesta Cantina also was full, with diners seemingly unaware or unconcerned about the event at the nearby intersection.
The demonstration/dance party did have an impact on traffic, with Metro buses that normally crossed Santa Monica Boulevard having to take alternate routes and the Sheriff’s Station blocking access to Santa Monica at both Hancock Avenue and Robertson Boulevard.