'Shocking':
Jewish store owner speaks about riot and looting incidents in LA

L.A. Police to Jewish pharmacy owner: 'Your store is your problem, not ours.'

Yoni Kempinski ,

Jewish LA store owner
Jewish LA store owner
Yoni Kempinski

Los Angeles store owner Jonathan Friedman spoke to Arutz Sheva about the riots in his community that destroyed his place of business.

"Motzei Shabbos when we were boarding up my store and a bunch of other stores, a bunch of Jewish people getting together and helping each other out, we're watching people going from store to store, looting stores.

"After Shabbos there was close to no police around, and for sure none of them doing anything, and it was wild, it was crazy; there was no enforcement whatsoever. You had all the small businesses in the neighborhood with their livelihoods being stolen out of the front of their stores by these people with no regard for anything."

Asked if he experienced direct confrontation, Friedman says: "A few of them approached us to test the waters and see if they could get some of or our entire store, get some things, but they weren't confrontational.

"At one point one of them did go into a Jewish store across the street, and we right away went and made sure he left right away; the police actually saw us doing this and refused to get involved - they said they couldn't help us which was shocking, because they have five Jews trying to protect another Jew's store and this other guy looking to steal, and the police just said, 'Sorry, sir; we can't help you tonight,' which was shocking; I mean, you're living in a very big city like L.A., it's not a common response."

What did the policeman say?

"To quote the officer I spoke to while they were robbing my store - I was across the street - and he said 'We're focusing on loss of life before we focus on the goods.' And in my case I said, 'I'm not looking for special circumstances, but I own a pharmacy and they're stealing all the drugs, which eventually is going to become your problem. And he said 'Loss of life comes first, we're focusing on that; your store is your problem, not ours."

Regarding synagogue vandalism, Friedman says "pretty much every synagogue was graffitied at some point. On Sunday they were painted over again, but every synagogue got graffitied."

"I hear what they're protesting against... But myself and many other people don't see what the synagogues and small businesses have to do with it. It's kind of an unrelated party that doesn't necessarily have to be involved here. A lot of these businesses are still suffering from their loss of business from coronavirus, all the restaurants and all those businesses, and now in addition to their loss of revenue now they have all their windows smashed. It's something that just has no connection at all to what they're protesting about."

"The past two nights they had a really strict curfew. Streets are very quiet as the night gets later, then in the morning everyone tries to put everything back and get back to work and try to resume the normal life."

Riots in Los Angeles, California
REUTERS/Kyle Grillot

San Diego, California
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