Demonstrators protest killing of George Floyd near Torrance City Hall


A protester holds up a “Black Lives Matter” poster as she strides through a crosswalk on Madrona Avenue. On Sunday, May 31, there were a series of protests in response to the death of George Floyd. This demonstration occurred at Torrance Boulevard and Madrona Avenue at 1 p.m., near Torrance City Hall. Molly Cochran/The Union

Over 200 people gathered at Torrance City Hall to protest the killing of George Floyd and other African American victims of police brutality Sunday, March 31 at 1 p.m.

The demonstration included a display in which protesters would lay on the ground and repeat “I can’t breathe” for six minutes and then stay silent for another three minutes to simulate Floyd’s arrest and death. This display was repeated multiple times throughout the afternoon.

Despite being less than half a mile from the Torrance Police Station, the demonstration did not have much of a law enforcement presence. Protesters also attempted to keep each other calm so that they would not be tear-gassed or shot at with rubber bullets, said a protester who goes only by Jane, in wake of protests in Long Beach, Santa Monica, and Downtown Los Angeles having experienced crackdown from law enforcement.

Many emotions were on display as the demonstration pushed on throughout the afternoon: there was crying, screaming, and praying.

Savannah Lavarda, 17 year-old high school student and Gardena resident, said that she didn’t expect the protest to ever become violent.

“The City of Torrance has pretty passive people,” Lavarda said. “We’re passive but at the same time we have riotous anger.”

Despite the fact that Torrance didn’t experience large-scale protests, Mayor Pat Furey instated a daily curfew from 8 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. beginning Saturday, March 30 at midnight. However, a Sunday, March 31 order from LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva superseded Torrance’s curfew, as more than 10 million residents all over LA County’s 88 cities are required to be indoors from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. until further notice. The countywide curfew exempts those who are either out for an essential job, experiencing homelessness, have media credentials or seeking medical treatment.