SANTA ANA, Calif. – Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer issued the following statement regarding the protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd last week while in police custody in Minnesota:
The right to make your voices heard will always be protected. The overwhelming majority of the people taking to the streets are doing it peacefully and with respect.
It is not the bottles that are thrown or the fires that are set that will encourage people to listen to your hurt, your anger, and your calls for change. I have watched many police officers have come face to face with protestors – and when everyone remains calm – truly incredible things happen. People see each other for the humans for which we all are. And as humans, we want peace and equality.
You have the right to protest – but when those protest cross the line into criminality – it will not be tolerated in Orange County. As a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department, I watched the streets of Los Angeles burn during the 1992 riots.
Looting and rioting is not about justice. It is about opportunists who are corrupting a cause to steal, robbery crews who pile out of cars with lookouts timing their looting sprees in order to evade police.
Business owners who were just getting ready to re-open after months of being closed due to a global pandemic are having to watch their dreams – and their livelihoods – reduced to shards of glass and twisted metal.
This does not honor the memory of George Floyd; in fact, it desecrates his memory.
This violence unnecessarily puts the lives of peaceful protestors, firefighters, police officers, and innocent bystanders at risk. This is not the Orange County we want.
I am calling on every police chief and the Sheriff to submit their looting and rioting cases to me for criminal prosecution as soon as possible. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office will prosecute every criminal act we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Make your voices heard – but do it peacefully so that you may be heard.