George Floyd Protests, Los Angeles

74 images, taken from the start of Los Angeles’ Protests Against Police Brutality up until June 2.

L.A. Is a Ghost Town: Photos From Desolate Streets and Abandoned Landmarks

Shot for LA Taco

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Union Station is only allowing travelers into the station. Here is a look into the only window a non-traveler can get close to due to the added security measures and guards. 03/29 2:37PM
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On Braodway in Chinatowm, small businesses are closed indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak. 03/29 2:54PM
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Placita Olvera, empty during the pandemic. On a Sunday afternoon, people from all over the world, as well as from LA, can be seen enjoying their time here. 03/29 2:44PM
Vendor booths, Olvera Street. 03/29 2:23PM
Vendor booths, Olvera Street. 03/29 2:23PM
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Historic Olvera Street has shut down for the most part amidst the outbreak. On any Sunday afternoon, the popular space would be packed with people. Now, only a security guard and a few homeless angelinos stay in the area. 03/29 2:22PM
Olvera Street vendor booth, closed until further notice. 03/29 2:19PM
Olvera Street vendor booth, closed until further notice. 03/29 2:19PM
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Espacio 1839, a community shop and space for a radio show, let people know they would be closing until further notice. Las Palomas, a business serving food and drinks for the community, has closed their security gates due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Mariachi Plaza, Boyle Heights. 03/29 1:49PM
Mariachi Plaza, Boyle Heights. 03/29 1:49PM
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Storefronts in Boyle Heights sit closed due to the city order to close non-essential businesses. 03/29 1:48PM
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Mariachi Plaza on a Sunday afternoon would normally be busy with community members doing various things. From musicians, visitors, families, and city workers, this plaza is famous for the community coming together. It is barren on this afternoon. 03/29 1:47PM
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A retail store, like those found in Los Callejones, closed down due to the pandemic. Only the food workers can be heard talking as few people come and go from the Alameda swapmeet.
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A popular shop in the Alameda swapmeet for the Catholic community in Vernon and surrounding areas, closed down. 03/29 1:19PM
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The entrance to the interior of the Alameda Swap Meet, closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Only the restaurants can serve take out food at the swap meet. 03/29 1:13PM
110 Freeway & Wilshire Boulevard. 03/29 12:30PM
110 Freeway & Wilshire Boulevard. 03/29 12:30PM
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The popular swap mall at MacArthur Park closed down due to the coronavirus outbreak. 03/29 12:05PM
Another portion of The Santee Alley, completely empty of people. 03/29 11:21AM
Another portion of The Santee Alley, completely empty of people. 03/29 11:21AM
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A closed shop in the Santee Alley. A small wind through the alley is the only sound that can be heard. 03/29 11:16AM
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The iconic Santee Alley, known for being open 365 days a year, is closed and empty except for 2 security guards. Thousands would normally walk through here on any given weekend. 03/29 11:12AM
Santee Street during would-have-been peak hour. 03/29 11:08AM
Santee Street during would-have-been peak hour. 03/29 11:08AM
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Colorful awnings hang above the closed stores in Los Callejones during what would have been a peak time for business owners and shoppers. 03/29 10:56AM
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Security gates signaling closure, an open parking meter. Sunday morning, March 29th. 10:52AM
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A portion of Los Callejones, completely void of humans on a Sunday morning. 03/29 10:47AM
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Wall Street and 4th, extremely quiet except for the convenience store clerk’s movement as he restocks his shelves. Sunday, March 29. 10:37AM
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Storefronts in Los Callejones of LA with their messages regarding closure due to the coronavirus outbreak. Only cars driving on the main street blocks away can be heard here. 03/29 10:23AM
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On Winston Street and Los Angeles Street, The T-Shirt Guys and Salud y Belleza are closed down with their COVID-19 notices taped up. Normally an extremely popular retail shopping area, the blocks of stores are completely shut down. 03/29 10:22AM
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One of Hollywood’s most iconic landmarks, TCL Chinese Theater, is closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Onlookers are few and far between as Hollywood’s most famous area lays barren of visitors. Only police and homeless people can be seen on the normally-bustling boulevard. 03/28 2:58PM
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Hollywood and Highland, a destination known around the world for its view of the Hollywood sign, empty. 03/28 2:51PM
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Looking down Wilshire Boulevard on a Saturday afternoon, no cars or people can be seen out. 03/28 2:20PM
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The famed “Urban Lights” public art piece, more commonly known as the LACMA Lights, sits without any kind of visitor. 03/28 2:20PM
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Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade, a go-to location for locals and tourists every day of the week, lays empty with only a few small business restaurants accepting take out orders. 03/28 1:37PM
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The ultra-popular Venice Beach Skatepark is taped off, closed due to the Safer at Home city order. Saturday, March 28. 12:33PM
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Looking north on Venice Beach, the popular hangout spot is barren due to the coronavirus outbreak. Saturday, March 28. 12:31PM
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An iconic section of the Venice Beach boardwalk, empty and on orders to close. Above, a police helicopter threatens to arrest those are on the beach. Homeless angelinos are told by Venice Beach Police to leave the beach.
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Santa Monica pier empty aside from police officers, closed down due to the coronavirus outbreak. 03/28 11:47AM
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The farthest point on the pier would normally have musicians, people fishing, restaurant-goers and tourists on a Saturday morning. Only two city vehicles are there now. 03/28 11:32AM
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Santa Monica pier looking towards the city. This stretch is where the majority of people would have been in pre-pandemic times. 03/28 11:29AM
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The rear area of the closed Santa Monica pier. Only 4 police officers, a small security team, and the Pacific Park manager are on the pier now. 03/28 11:19AM
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Santa Monica Beach city workers enforce the beach closure, only a tiny fraction of the amount of people that are usually here on a Saturday morning can be seen in the far distance. Saturday, March 28. 11:14AM
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Saturday, March 28 at 11:13AM. The Santa Monica Pier and beach was ordered to close by the City of Los Angeles. Pacific Park, the amusement park on the pier, normally holds 2,500 people on busy days such as Saturday and Sunday.
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Hill Street as seen from the 110 south. On any given morning, this street is bustling with traffic, both car and pedestrian. The Safer at Home order by the city keeps most people from leaving their homes. Saturday, March 28. 10:25AM
A stretch of Saigon Plaza, Chinatown. Tuesday, March 17 10:52AM
A stretch of Saigon Plaza, Chinatown. Tuesday, March 17 10:52AM
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Lisa’s Fashion & Gift closed down due to the coronavirus outbreak. Businesses in Chinatown have found it extremely difficult to stay open, since they have experienced a drastic drop in foot traffic since word of the virus originating in China hit the US. Tuesday, March 17th 10:51AM

Frontlines: Migrant Caravan

Migrants from the Benito Juarez Sports Complex shelter in Zona Norte, Tijuana organized a march in order to demand to be processed for asylum, Sunday Nov. 25. 

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The march started after leaders of the caravan held a prayer using megaphones. Mexican federal police blocked the entrance to Puente El Chaparral, a bridge that pedestrians and automobiles use to arrive at the border-crossing area. As the migrants approached the police line, a caravan organizer told the group to stop walking. 

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“If we will be crossing, we will be crossing in peace,” he said.

The marchers stopped and gave thanks to the Mexican state for sheltering them, sang the Mexican national anthem, gave a solidarity cheer with those who participated in the International Day of Action march in San Diego, all while waiting for the police to let through.

After about an hour of waiting, caravan organizers decided to go around the blockade, down a street that runs parallel to the inaccessible bridge. Police immediately began pushing people down with their shields. The migrants gained momentum as the police continued to use force against womxn, childrxn, and journalists. 

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The migrants crossed the Tijuana riverbed, helping each other keep steady so as to not fall into the water. They arrived at the car port of entry where Mexican military troops watched from above.

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The group I was with made their way to the edge of the large parkway that makes up the border entry point. Four migrants scaled the wall that divided Mexico and USA. US forces on the opposite side pointed a high caliber rifle at the young men. The migrant group then sought another area of the border fence.

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The migrant group reached another section of the border crossing point, opened the fence and continued through. I was stopped by riot police and not let through. One officer hit me repeatedly with his shield.

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During my walk back the way I had came, I witnessed an officer, who was giving orders earlier, continuously beat and harass a migrant. A Mexican checkpoint official alerted the officer that he had a camera on him and the officer ceased to hit the migrant. 

Mexican federal police then sealed the border car port leading into the US. Soon, US Department of Homeland Security Special Response Team forces and US military appeared and began to install razor wire, completely sealing the border and announcing that any unauthorized person will be met with lethal force.

I made my way to meet the group of migrants who were being shot with tear gas and rubber bullets through the border fence by US forces. Mexican federal police rallied them up and forced them back into Tijuana city limits. The final image was the last one I could capture before the tear gas effect became too much for my senses.

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United States v. Gomez

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“My name is Jorge Steven Gomez, I am 19 years old, I come from Honduras and on September 19th, I was released on bond from the Adelanto ICE Processing Center,” said Jorge Gomez.

On Aug. 23, 2017, Gomez was arrested by the Los Angeles County Sheriff and taken to the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles. During his six month sentence, he received a notice from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency stating that he was to be detained for immigration processing.

“I did not believe it,” he said.

Gomez fled Honduras when he was sixteen and was approved for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. This immigration status is granted to children who arrive unaccompanied and were neglected, abused or abandoned in their home country by one or both parents, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

“It has been very complicated, being alone in this country, not having my parents [around],” said Gomez.

With turmoil in Honduras, a deportation for Gomez can result in a death sentence.

Gomez arrived at Adelanto ICE Processing Center during April, where he signed up to get help from the Legal Orientation Program, which led to him being represented by attorney Jaqueline Aranda.

“Many people told me that it was not easy [to get in contact with the legal orientation program], they said I had good luck,” said Gomez.

At the Adelanto ICE Processing Facility, detainees must act affirmatively by signing up on sheets posted in the dormitories to obtain Legal Orientation Program services. According to the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the Legal Orientation Program staff relies on ICE to bring individuals listed on the sign-up sheet.

“The Legal Orientation Program has no input or control over which detainees they see or when they see a detainee at ICE’s Adelanto Processing Center,” said Gail Montenegro, the EOIR’s Regional Public Information Officer for the Midwest.

Gomez’s processing has developed differently due to him being processed in both the immigration court system and having the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status while in line for a visa. The hope, according to Aranda, was that a visa would become available before the removal proceedings were over.

“Broadly, there are two main agencies that deal with immigration, one is the immigration court system and the other is USCIS. USCIS processes applications for anything you are asking for affirmatively; in the court system, you’re acting defensively– so if you’re in the court system, the government is trying to deport you. SIJS was processed by USCIS and then [Jorge] was placed in removal proceedings in immigration court,” said Aranda.

At the 6 month mark in the Central District of California, detainees are automatically scheduled for a bond hearing. During these bond or “Rodriguez”, hearings, it is the government’s legal burden to prove why they should continue detaining the defendant.

“It’s really jarring when you have one agency in the federal government that says it’s not in this young person’s best interest to return to their home country, but then they’re in removal proceedings, and you have a separate agency saying this person should go back to that country,” said Aranda.

During the Rodriguez bond hearing, the application of the law is not in accordance to itself.

“It’s [the government’s] legal burden, but realistically, these judges are just looking for the person in proceedings to prove to them that they should be released,” said Aranda, “so what you do at bond hearings is try to paint a full picture of the person and convince the judge to let this person out of detention.”

“The fear of returning to my country gave me strength to keep fighting my case,” said Gomez.

After receiving aid from a GoFundMe fundraiser, Jorge was able to leave custody.

“The truth is that [the public] already helped. They helped me pay my bond. It all depends on me now,” said Gomez.

“A lot of times when people do have the opportunity to get out of custody [on bond], they just can’t pay it,” said Aranda, “because many [who] are detained come from really underserved, overcriminalized communities that do not have a lot of resources; financial support can make a really big difference.”

Community groups such as the Immigrant Youth Coalition, who supported Jorge emotionally, financially, and mentally, are excellent resource groups to get involved with if one cannot help financially.