Los Angeles police on Tuesday detained two men in Lake View Terrace who, authorities said, were walking around in the Inglewood area carrying rifles in the early morning hours.
The men were taken into custody for questioning shortly before 7 a.m. near Foothill Boulevard and Terra Bella Street, the Los Angeles Police Department reported.
About 12:45 a.m., two armed men dressed in military garb were seen walking on Century Boulevard between Yukon Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard in Inglewood.
The men carried “assault-type gear,” and officers monitored their activity but took no action for the safety of several bystanders watching, according to Lt. Greg Held of the Inglewood Police Department.
Held said although the men were carrying weapons, their activity didn’t seem threatening and officers decided to avoid a confrontation and just monitor them. The incident remains under investigation, Held said.
The men were walking the neighborhood in a Black Lives Matter-type protest, according to reports from the scene.
“Right now we are giving a peaceful demonstration,” one of the men told a news photographer at the scene. “Nobody’s being shot. Nobody’s being brutalized. We’re out here just exposing racism, White supremacy.”
Other video showed both men walking along various streets, with one saying they were just out on patrol.
“If they (police) can do it half-assed, why can’t I do it?” one man told a CBS2 photographer as he walked by. “Ain’t nobody been hurt.”
LAPD Deputy Chief Bob Green told reporters that Los Angeles police officers began monitoring the men about 3 a.m.
“There was video footage of two individuals … with what appeared to be assault rifles, body armor, and Kevlar helmets,” Green said. “So, investigatively, since then we’ve been moving forward to try and determine if these are legal assault weapons, and what the intentions of the individuals were.”
Green said police followed the men’s vehicle to Foothill Boulevard and Terra Bella Street, where the car stopped.
“The men got out, but they “failed to comply with the officers’ commands” and officers used a non-lethal device—apparently firing a rubber bullet—to take the driver into custody. The passenger sat down and was also taken into custody.
Later Tuesday morning, police prepared to serve a search warrant at a Panorama City apartment where one of the suspects lives.
According to reports from the scene, the men left Inglewood and went to the Panorama City apartment, followed by LAPD officers. Shortly before 7 a.m., they drove away from the apartment and went to Foothill Boulevard and Terra Bella Street, where they stopped and were taken into custody.