By Duncan Smith
A wild video shot by a local news crew in Van Nuys, Calif., appears to show armed shop owners holding off a small group of would-be looters as they question the owners why they aren’t being allowed to steal from them.
At one point, police officers show up and summarily arrest the wrong people — they cuff and stuff the store owners.
A group of about half a dozen suspected looters in Los Angeles was caught on live TV on Sunday as they confronted armed citizens helping the owner of a local liquor store protect their business.
The incident nearly got out of hand as the looters gathered outside a liquor store in Van Nuys and squared off with the owner and armed community members for not letting them break into the store and a nearby gold store.
'There's a standoff here arguing about why they can't break into the place,' said Fox 11 TV reporter Christina Gonzalez during a live broadcast of the incident Sunday.
A short while later, several police vehicles arrived at the scene. The situation then got even more confused as officers began arresting and pointing guns at the community members protecting the store.
'No, no they are fine,' Gonzalez can be heard informing the officers as the looters used the confusion to escape.
'You're losing your looters, these were the people protecting the store,' Gonzalez added.
'We're putting those in handcuffs right now!' one of the officers said to Gonzalez.
This is one of the most absolutely insane moments I've ever seen on live television. pic.twitter.com/Uvzig8YGSa
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) June 2, 2020
An African-American woman named Monet, one of the people protecting the store before police arrested her, told the news crew she’s pretty sure the alleged looters don’t know or care about George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who died at the hands of police last week — an incident which sparked widespread protests that have now been hijacked by looters and anarchists.
'I believe what they're doing is trying to get, what they can get, because of the protest situation,' she said, according to Fox 11. 'I have children, African-American kids, he's not African-American, his son's not African-American but you're not gonna come to our city and tear our city up when this man has been here for over 30+ years and helped everyone on this city block.'
'I was handcuffed, thrown up against a wall with my husband and brother-in-law, and I'm like, 'What the hell?’' Monet told the station. 'The news people are here and telling you it's not her, she's trying to stop the situation.'
As for the officers, LAPD commander Andy Neiman — who watched the scene unfold on live TV — said “officers have citizens that are flagging them down, not knowing what's going on, and until they sort everything out, they don't know who they're dealing with.
“They don't know if they're good guys, bad guys and so we have to get it under control first and then sort everything out.'
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