Curfews have been issued across the country in the wake of protests, both peaceful and violent, against police brutality following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.
In Los Angeles, the curfew is the harshest since the riots in 1992 following the acquittal of the officer who beat Rodney King.
On the East Coast, New York City has enacted the strictest curfew since the race riots of 1943.
Why are there curfews?
Floyd died as former officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck and two others held him down. A fourth officer stood by as it happened. Only Chauvin has been arrested in the death while three others were fired from the Minneapolis police department. Calls for the arrest of those officers continue to ring out.
While many of the demonstrations have been peaceful, some have devolved into chaos with people setting fires, shattering the windows of emergency vehicles, and looting stores throughout the nation.
It’s unclear who is responsible for the violence, but officials have said they believe white supremacists, anarchists and people from outside the cities where the protests are happening could be responsible for the damage.
As a result, many cities have enacted curfews to curb the violent and destructive nature of some attendees of these protests.
12 hour curfew in Los Angeles
The county of Los Angeles, the nation’s most populous county with approximately ten million residents, enacted a 12-hour overnight curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. starting Monday night.
Officials said the highly restrictive curfew has been ordered because of “imminent danger to life and property during the hours of darkness,” in the executive order.
The curfew is the harshest since the riots of 1992 when people took the streets following the acquittal of officers accused of using excessive force in the beating of Rodney King, according to Los Angeles Police Chief Michael Moore.
The 1992 acquittal sparked massive protests, where 50 people were killed and over 2,000 injured, along with hundreds of buildings burned.
Moore said peaceful protests are welcome but “no violence will be supported.”
Nearly 90 businesses along Melrose Avenue were destroyed during the recent demonstrations, according to Moore, who apologized to the owners of those businesses Monday.
“Our efforts were to balance expression of public discord in a lawful, peaceful manner,” Moore explained. “Unfortunately the powers and forces of those who wished to exact violence in the community overwhelmed us.”
One thousand members of the California National Guard have already been deployed to Southern California to respond to the unrest and one thousand more are expected to arrive Tuesday, Moore said. The additional National Guard members will be posted to protect businesses that have already been damaged and those that might be vulnerable, according to Moore.
Most restrictive curfew in more than 70 years
New York City has also been the site of several protests throughout its five boroughs.
While some have been peaceful demonstrations against police brutality, others have descended into destruction.
On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered a curfew from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. for the city that never sleeps, and an 8 p.m. curfew for Tuesday.
The last time such a curfew was enacted was during the race riots in Harlem, New York, in 1943 after a white police officer shot a black soldier in Manhattan, according to an archived report from The New York Times.
A New York Times article from August 4, 1943 said that Mayor LaGuardia announced the order to be inside by 10:30 p.m. after five people were killed in the chaos and 500 more were injured. Roads were closed and the sale of liquor was also banned in an effort to calm tensions in the city.
Just two years later, the entire nation would be put on curfew due to WWII.
Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio issued similar statements Monday saying that they needed to protect the people of the city from further violence.
“I stand behind the protestors and their message, but unfortunately there are people who are looking to distract and discredit this moment,” Cuomo said in a press release. “The violence and the looting has been bad for the city, the state and this entire national movement, undermining and distracting from this righteous cause. While we encourage people to protest peacefully and make their voices heard, the safety of the general public is paramount and cannot be compromised.”
Cuomo told WAMC radio show host Alan Chartock there were about 4,000 officers who responded to the protest Sunday and expected about 8,000 officers to be out Monday night.
The mayor said that while he supports the message of the demonstrations, the destruction needs to stop.
“These protests have power and meaning,” de Blasio said in a tweet. “But as the night wears on we are seeing groups use them to incite violence and destroy property. Our first priority is keeping people safe, so I’m extending the curfew to Tuesday.”
CNN’s Cheri Mossburg, Amy Roberts and Brian Vitagliano contributed to this report.