Concerned about election unrest, Beverly Hills will close Rodeo Drive

Beverly Hills luxury retail mecca Rodeo Drive will be closed to cars and pedestrian traffic on election day and the day after, a move the city’s police chief calls a “proactive approach” to possible protests.

Beverly Hills Police Chief Dominick Rivetti said his department would go on “full alert” and that businesses might choose to close down or limit operations. The move came as City Hall encouraged some businesses to board up their high-end stores. City shopping areas have become places of protest since the death this summer of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police.

“As election day approaches,” Rivetti said in a videotaped announcement, “and with the potential of increased demonstration and protest activity across the region, the city is taking a proactive approach.”

Rodeo Drive will be closed, he said, to vehicle and pedestrian traffic on Nov. 3 and 4.

“Beginning on Halloween and through election week,” he said, “the Beverly Hills Police Department will be on full alert throughout the residential and business districts.” He said the department would get additional support from other law enforcement agencies and private security companies.

Beverly Hills has been the site of peaceful protests both by Black Lives Matter demonstrators and supporters of President Trump. In August, supporters of President Trump took to the streets of Beverly Hills and faced off with a small group of counter-protesters in a skirmish.

Some businesses in the city have been advised to board up their windows as a number of high-end stores did in June amid escalating protests, in the wake of Floyd’s death, over police use of force against Black people and other minorities.

The city has raised eyebrows for filing criminal charges against some protesters.

Beverly Hills police used tear gas to break up large crowds of protesters on June 13. The department also tried to jail protesters accused of curfew violation who couldn’t post the $5,000 bail. Beverly Hills has taken a tough approach in the wake of protests, filing the misdemeanor curfew-violation charges against 25 people involved in a relatively calm June protest. Other municipalities in the L.A. region haven’t pursued such charges despite racking up thousands of arrests.

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