71st and Normandie
As the officers completing the police report at the Pay-Less Liquor and Deli left that location, they heard another report of a disturbance at Florence and Halldale, arrived there at 5:27 pm to find a crowd, and requested assistance. Approximately two dozen officers, commanded by 77th Street Division LAPD officer Lieutenant Michael Moulin, arrived. One gang member who was throwing rocks was chased to 71st and Normandie by officers, where he was arrested. An uneasy crowd, taunting and berating police, also gathered in this location. Among them was New York Times freelance photographer Bart Bartholemew and Timothy Goldman, who began to record events with a camcorder.
Goldman's footage shows the arrest of the gang member, then police forming a perimeter around the arresting officers as the crowd grows more hostile. Bart Bartholemew is attacked, and an individual takes one LAPD officer's flashlight, causing another large altercation between officers and the crowd. As the crowd continues to grow, Lieutenant Moulin ordered officers out of the area altogether. Moulin later says that officers on the scene were outnumbered and unprepared to handle the situation.
Forget the flashlight. It's not worth it. It ain't worth it. It's not worth it, forget the flashlight. It's not worth it. Let's go.
— Lieutenant Michael Moulin, Bullhorn broadcast as recorded by the Goldman footage at 71st and Normandie.
Moulin made the call for reporting officers to retreat from the 71st and Normandie area entirely, and regroup at a riot command center two miles away, at approximately 5:50 pm.
Unrest moves to Florence and Normandie.
Jubilant and empowered by the retreat of officers at 71st and Normandie, many proceeded one block south, to the busy intersection of Florence and Normandie. As Timothy Goldman continued to record video on the ground, the Los Angeles News Service team of Marika and Robert Tur arrived overhead in a news helicopter, filming from the air. The LANS feed appeared live on numerous Los Angeles television venues. At approximately 6:15 pm, as reports of vandalism, looting, and physical attacks continued to come in, Moulin elected to "take the information", but not to respond with personnel to restore order or rescue people in the area. Meanwhile, media continued to cover the events in progress at Florence and Normandie. Overhead, Tur described the police presence at the scene around 6:30 pm as "none".
At 6:43 pm, truck driver Larry Tarvin driving down Florence, stopped at a red light at Normandie in a large white delivery truck. He was pulled from the truck, kicked and beaten, and struck unconscious with a fire extinguisher taken from his own vehicle. He lay unconscious for more than a minute as his truck was looted, before staggering back to his vehicle. With the help of an unknown African-American named Rodney, Tarvin was able to drive his truck out of further harm's way. Just before he did so, another truck entered the intersection. This was the truck of Reginald Denny.