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Santa Barbara, SLO counties send officers to Los Angeles County riots
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Santa Barbara, SLO counties send officers to Los Angeles County riots

Santa Barbara County has sent a contingent of law enforcement officers from several agencies to Los Angeles County to assist efforts to control violent civil unrest that broke out following the death of a man being detained by police in Minneapolis.

The County Sheriff’s Office announced on social media that 52 deputies and officers from several police departments headed south in answer to Los Angeles County’s request for assistance.

In addition to sheriff’s deputies, officers from the Lompoc, Guadalupe and Santa Barbara police departments joined forces at the Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara and left around 7 p.m. Santa Maria police also sent officers to help.

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department also sent 35 deputies in response to the request sent out through the California Office of Emergency Services, spokesman Tony Cipolla said.

The Pismo Beach and Cal Poly police departments each dispatched two officers, with another three sent by the Paso Robles and five by the Atascadero police departments, Cipolla said.

A curfew from 8 p.m. Saturday to 5:30 a.m. Sunday was instituted in Los Angeles in an attempt to halt four days of rioting that left police cars burned out, businesses vandalized and looted and protesters shot by officers’ rubber bullets.

National Guard troops were scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles overnight.

Civil unrest in the Los Angeles area is part of a wave of protests that broke out in major cities across the United States after George Floyd, 46, was held down by Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin, 44, who kneeled on the back of Floyd’s neck.

Protests escalated and turned violent after a video circulated showing Floyd, who was black, begging for relief that was denied by Chauvin, who is white. Floyd eventually stopped moving and was later declared dead at a hospital.

Chauvin and two other officers who were present were immediately fired, and Chauvin was subsequently charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

This report was compiled by Mike Hodgson, associate editor for the Santa Maria Times. He can be reached at mhodgson@santamariatimes.com.

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