LAPD officers in riot gear ask a small group of people to leave the area at the intersection of 43rd Street and Leimert Boulevard Monday night. Officers declared an unlawful assembly and dispersed a crowd after a group of about 100 people became unruly near the location of a Trayvon Martin rally at Leimert Park.
Update 8:29 a.m. Tuesday: About 150 protesters marched down Crenshaw Monday night with signs raised, sticks and motorized bikes. They marched down the middle of the street and most people were chanting in sympathy with Trayvon Martin. There was at least one restaurant with a window smashed by a rock.
There were 14 arrests Monday night — 13 for failing to disperse, and one for inciting a riot, according to LAPD Officer Gregory Baek. Six of those arrested were minors.
At about 9:30 p.m., police lined up outside of Walmart. They appeared to be trying to stop any looting from taking place. Police fired a bean bag and most of the protesters dispersed from that location.
At Leimert Park the protesters were mostly peaceful as the police surrounded their location. A fight broke out between two men who were protesting in the park, but it was quickly reconciled and protesters began to chant "unity."
The police peacefully moved the protesters out of the park and then continued to move them off street corners.
Update 11:29 p.m.: Los Angeles leaders address the city
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti addressed the media and residents near Leimert Park shortly after the LAPD declared an unlawful assembly and dispersed the protesters. The police moved in after a group broke from the larger crowd and vandalized some stores and vehicles in the area.
LAPD police Chief Charlie Beck said about 150 people broke away from the peaceful protest honoring Trayvon Martin to commit acts of vandalism and assault some people along Crenshaw Boulevard. He said some arrests were made. The Associated Press reports that at least 13 people were taken into custody.
More than 300 officers responded and they were deliberate in engaging the protesters in an attempt to allow a peaceful end to the demonstration, Beck said.
Beginning Tuesday, the LAPD will have a “stricter posture” on protests, the chief said. He also urged parents not to allow their children to protest Tuesday on Crenshaw Boulevard.
“Unfortunately, the rights of the many have been abused by the actions of a few,” Beck said.
Garcetti, who cut short an official trip to the East Coast, said people deserve to express their opinions, but people also deserve to be safe on their streets and in their cars.
Some quotes from the mayor's late night address:
- “The trial that we saw in Florida has ignited passions but we have to make sure it will not ignite the city.”
- “The Martin family was very clear – that those who sympathize with their plight, the best way to honor their son and their loved one is in a non-violent manner.”
- “The Martin family didn’t ask anybody to break car windows. They didn’t ask anyone to take little kids’ scooters. They didn’t ask anybody to attack businesses. They certainly didn’t say take over traffic in the streets.”
- "In the toughest times, we show who we are when we come together."
Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks, who is also a former LAPD chief, blamed the unruly behavior on a small group of individuals.
“Our energies today and the last couple of days have been chasing a handful of people who choose to be disruptive,” Parks said.
Update 10:29 p.m.: LAPD arrests small group of protesters
LAPD officers have been making arrests of those who failed to disperse after they were ordered to leave the area.
Footage on KCal 9 showed officers loading dozens of protesters along Crenshaw Blvd. into vans.
Update 9:54 p.m.: LAPD declares unlawful assembly
The Los Angeles Police Dept. ordered protesters who had taken over a section of Crenshaw Blvd. to disburse shortly before 10 p.m., declaring the gathering an unlawful assembly.
Dozens of police in riot gear had cordoned off the area after protesters spilled into the street and blocked traffic.
The Associated Press reports there was at least one arrest Monday night and more are expected.
Update 9:42 p.m.: LAPD, mayor call for peaceful protests
The L.A. Sheriffs Department issued a traffic advisory Monday night, cautioning drivers to steer clear of the Crenshaw district for the duration of the protests after demonstrators poured into the street near Crenshaw Boulevard and Vernon Avenue.
LAPD Chief Beck asked for peaceful protests in a tweet, as did L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Violence is never the answer. Urging all protestors around LA 2let peace prevail.This is OUR City and we need to work 2gether 2 preserve it— Chief Charlie Beck (@LAPDChiefBeck) July 16, 2013
Update 9:27 p.m.: 'Zimmerman verdict: 100s again protest in Leimert Park, some block Crenshaw
Crowds of a few hundred people gathered Monday night at Leimert Park in South L.A. to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman. They also say they’re celebrating the life of 17-year old Trayvon Martin.
Erika Turner who lives in the neighborhood told KPCC's Erika Aguilar that she felt compelled to come. She was sitting in her living room on Saturday when she heard the verdict.
"I wasn't surprised, you know, I was upset and saddened to know that the jurors would see him not guilty," Turner said, adding: "It was a clear cut case, you know, and I'm just upset with the justice system."
Turner says that Martin could have been anyone's child. She and others promised to bring about change by participating in more civic discussions and voting in more elections.
A group of protesters broke away from the crowd and started marching south on Crenshaw, impeding traffic. LAPD cops directed traffic for a brief moment until the protesters left the road.
Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer sent a letter Monday to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder supporting the Justice Department decision to review the case to determine whether Martin's civil rights were violated, the Associated Press reported.
"I respect the fact that the jury has spoken ... but I don't think this should be the last word," Boxer wrote in the letter.
"Trayvon Martin's death was a tragedy and has raised many sensitive and important issues," she wrote. "We should explore every avenue in an effort to ensure that something like this never happens again."