Inglewood police are being praised for their restraint late Monday night when two men, dressed in military gear and body armor, and carrying assault rifles walked through city streets ranting about racism and white supremacy.
It happened on Century Blvd., between Yukon and Crenshaw. Several officers and at least one armored vehicle arrived on the scene. However, unsure of the men’s intentions, officers kept their distance and observed.
Lt. Greg Held of the Inglewood Police Department said officers took no action for the safety of several bystanders watching. Held said that although the men were carrying weapons, their activity didn’t seem threatening and officers decided to avoid confrontation and just monitor them.
The men, one of whom identified himself as "Tay S.," were also monitored by helicopter. A local videographer for ANG News filmed him saying:
"Let it be known that this is a peaceful protest and I'm within my constitutional rights. So if they violate that, that just goes to show how phony they are. That's why they want to take the guns away—because once they do that, they can come in, rape your wife, rape your kids, because they got guns but you don't."
The videographer named Jake said, "One person was carrying a sign that said 'black lives matter' and they were indicating that they wanted to kill police officers and that they were ready to die."
Around 3 a.m., LAPD began tracking the men as they traveled to an apartment building near Stagg Street and Ventura Canyon Avenue in Panorama City. One of the men reportedly lives in the building.
NBC reported that “according to the LAPD, the pair later left the building in a dark-colored SUV and were followed by officers to Lake View Terrace. Both men then showed their rifles on camera before putting them, apparently unloaded, into the back of a black vehicle. The men then got into the vehicle.”
When the vehicle stopped at Foothill Boulevard and Terra Bella Street, shortly before 7 a.m., the men got out, but LAPD fired a rubber bullet at the driver for failing to comply with the officer’s commands. Both were taken to custody for carrying three firearms.
It was unclear if the firearms were loaded at any point during the incident.
This is the second time in recent weeks that Inglewood police have monitored potential threats instead of using force. And the second time the tactic has paid off. Officers also took a hands-off approach on July 10 when peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors marched down Manchester Blvd. to protest the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.
Mayor James Butts noted that the news media was surprised that officers did not use force. He responded that it was best to monitor the situation unless it was clear that the lives of officers or the public were in “imminent danger.”