Over the last two weeks the United States has experienced many protests against racial injustice and police brutality. Some of those protests were peaceful, some became violent, and some were accompanied by vandalism, looting, and burning of businesses.
When the protests in Los Angeles, California came toward Beverly Hills Ducati on May 30, Christine Sullivan, the mother of MotoAmerica Junior Cup racer Errol Sullivan, chose to stand her ground and protect the dealership she’s co-owned with husband John since 2002.
“They didn’t come until after we closed,” Sullivan told Roadracingworld.com in a telephone interview. “The initial response is to protect. You don’t want all your work and effort to be damaged. So, when they started tagging the building that’s when I started going outside.”
Although her husband and son were at Road America for the MotoAmerica race event, Christine Sullivan wasn’t alone.
“It was pretty amazing,” said Sullivan. “One of my employees showed back up at like 7 or 8 o’clock at night, because we had been closing at 5:00 p.m. since the coronavirus outbreak.
“And I had a customer who just decided he was going to stay and help. He had been shopping at the store. He is from Israel, and he protected his friend’s jewelry business downtown the night before, and he knew what was going to happen.
“And when things got the most exciting, when they were looting the buildings around us, my friend’s husband showed up to help, and he’s 6-foot-3 and African-American.
“Then there was a gent who was walking by doing the peaceful part of the protest, and he is from Haiti and of African descent.
“And we all just stood out in front of the store and discouraged people from breaking in.
“There was some sort of in-your-face confrontations a little bit. They were armed with baseball bats and crowbars, but we were not armed. We were just standing in front. We were not physically touched or any of that, but being out there in front made a difference. Businesses on the street that had security guards didn’t get looted either.
“Later in the evening it definitely got to the point where the looting portion was very organized. Sets of cars would pull up in front of the store. They’d check out the store, see us in front, and then leave.
“That happened over and over again. Then in the later hours we started getting comments from the people in the cars, saying, ‘You know you can’t stay there all night. We’ll be back.’
“We stayed until the sun came up. The National Guard did show up, and that was very helpful because they kind of did this sweep through the streets and sort of diffused some of the looting. I mean, some of the looting continued. All of the places around that had already been broken into, casual looters were still going into those businesses and taking stuff.”
Sullivan spent the next two nights standing guard unarmed in front of her dealership, until her husband John returned from Road America and could relieve her.
“The nice part was there was a very diverse group of folks who stayed with me and kind of helped keep things sane. I think if it had just been me standing in front, I think I probably would have had a different experience,” said Christine Sullivan. “The reality of the situation is the business is insured, but I have other people’s property at the store. You know, bikes are in for service [and consignment sales].
“And whether they are replaceable or not, because everything is replaceable, but it’s their bikes. It’s their property that they love. A lot of people put a lot into customizing [their motorcycle] and have affection for their motorcycle. If they had looted the shop it would have had a very broad impact. It wouldn’t have just been my store and replaceable property. It would have been 50 other people’s motorcycles, as well.
“You can only take so many hits. We were only partially opened due to the coronavirus shutdown. Like our service department was open, but it’s been an ugly, ugly year so far. We just didn’t need any more awful things to happen.”
A few miles away in Santa Monica, Dainese’s D-Store “got totally looted,” said Sullivan. “I don’t think there was a single item left.”
It’s not known whether or not the D-Store had anyone guarding it during the protests, but it is known that the D-Store in Santa Monica remains closed until June 20 to repair and restock merchandise, according to the store’s telephone voice recording.
Below are videos shot by Christine Sullivan of the destruction in Beverly Hills following the first night of protests, vandalism, and looting.