LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Beverly Hills, Long Beach and downtown Los Angeles were all hit hard last summer by looting and vandalism in the weeks of unrest following the death of George Floyd, putting law enforcement on high alert ahead of the verdicts in the Derek Chauvin trial.
"While we are hopeful for a peaceful time following the verdict, the Beverly Hills Police Department is well prepared and committed to protecting our city," Beverly Hills Police Department Chief Dominick Rivetti said in a statement ahead of the verdicts.
But on Tuesday, a jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder in Floyd's death.
"I was really nervous, because if he didn't get found guilty, I think it would have been pretty bad," David Price, a shopper in Beverly Hills, said. "I mean, we saw how the Rodney King fiasco went, and I was hoping for nothing like that, but if that was the case, me and my sons, we would have gotten back in our car and started heading back home, because we knew it would get really ugly."
But shoppers like Price were not the only ones feeling more at ease following the verdicts with business owners saying they were relieved that there was not be a repeat of last year's destruction.
"They broke the windows and they took everything, and then we had to put everything back together," Patrik Simpson, co-owner of Pol Atteu near Rodeo Drive, said. "And just to be where we are today, I feel relieved."
And in Long Beach, where the Pike Outlets were heavily damaged during looting, shoppers were out and about.
"When they said guilty, I was like, 'Wow, that's a big game changer,'" Leonard Bradley, an Inglewood resident, said. "It just feels like we finally got one. At least as a person of color and a Black person, I just feel like for a long time we've been kind of suppressed, especially in the justice system where we don't really get a lot of good outcomes that go our way, so this one it felt like we finally got a good one today."
The Long Beach Police Department said it had not received any information about any planned protests, but had declared a Stage 2 tactical alert as a precaution.
And over in downtown Los Angeles, where a number of businesses were vandalized and looted last summer during the unrest, all was calm as night fell.
"I don't want to see anymore riots or demonstrations," Ken Jones, a Vietnam veteran, said. "It's breaking the country apart."
Jones said the video of Chauvin killing Floyd kept him up at night.
"I had nightmares of this incident, because I felt so helpless," he said. "And I kept thinking, I wish I could have pushed that policeman away and stopped that. It's horrible."
Eddie Suh, a Los Angeles resident, said it was about time a police officer charged with killing someone was held accountable with a conviction.
"I mean, Christ," he said. "It's been going on since, what, Rodney King? Those dudes are living in Simi Valley."
Many said it was upsetting that it took 30 years after the brutal beating of King, the outcry that followed and George Floyd's killing to be caught on camera in Minneapolis for an officer to be held accountable.
"A life can never be brought back, but at least there can be some sense justice," Katherine Chan, a Los Angeles resident, said.
"A little justice is better than no justice," another woman said.
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