After questions over response to looting, petition to fire Santa Monica police chief gets 59K signatures

Dozens of businesses in Santa Monica were looted after mostly peaceful protests were followed by chaos, prompting many to criticize the police’s response to the violence.

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (KABC) — Dozens of businesses in Santa Monica were looted after mostly peaceful protests were followed by chaos, prompting many to criticize the police’s response to the violence and call for the department’s chief to be fired.

A Change.org petition is calling for Chief Cynthia Renaud to be removed immediately. More than 59,000 signatures have been collected so far.

The Santa Monica City Council on Tuesday took up a request by one of the councilmembers to review the police response to what happened May 31, the day when rioters and looters damaged more than 200 businesses in the city.

The council voted unanimously to have an independent investigation into the looting and vandalism that happened May 31. Councilmembers also called for an incident review by the police department.

Councilmember Sue Himmelrich had previously asked the police department conduct an after-action review of the events to then be examined by the Office of Independent Review.

Renaud has said she welcomes a thorough and independent review of what happened.

She said her first responsibility is protect the lives of people in the community. The chief has been criticized for not deploying officers to stop looters for hours as they swept through Santa Monica’s business district.

Earlier on Tuesday, Interim City Manager Lane Dilg talked about how the peaceful demonstration was marred by an organized criminal element that exploited the gathering.

“Some have argued the response to criminal activity came too late. Others, the response to civil disobedience was far too strong,” Dilg said. “I am committed to an independent and thorough investigation of the events of May 31 in our city.”

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