Las Vegas Sun

October 31, 2014

Currently: 66° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Zimmerman protests in LA turn ugly: Attacks, vandalism reported

Image

Jae C. Hong / AP

Protesters confront Los Angles police officers during a demonstration in reaction to the acquittal of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman on Monday, July 15, 2013, in Los Angeles. Anger over the acquittal of a U.S. neighborhood watch volunteer who shot dead an unarmed black teenager continued Monday, with civil rights leaders saying mostly peaceful protests will continue this weekend with vigils in dozens of cities.

Zimmerman Trial Reaction

A protester stomps on a van during a demonstration in reaction to the acquittal of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman on Monday, July 15, 2013, in Los Angeles. Anger over the acquittal of a U.S. neighborhood watch volunteer who shot dead an unarmed black teenager continued Monday, with civil rights leaders saying mostly peaceful protests will continue this weekend with vigils in dozens of cities. Launch slideshow »

LOS ANGELES — Protesters ran through Los Angeles streets Monday night, breaking windows, attacking people on sidewalks and at one point raiding a Wal-Mart store, while others blocked a major freeway in the San Francisco Bay Area in the third night of demonstrations in California over George Zimmerman's Florida acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Thirteen people were arrested after multiple acts of vandalism and several assaults in Los Angeles' Crenshaw District, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Police Chief Charlie Beck said at a news conference.

Garcetti and Beck didn't elaborate on the assaults or any injuries, but at least one man could be seen in the street with a head injury.

More than 300 officers were called to the scene and were at first slow to directly engage protesters in an attempt to allow a peaceful end to the demonstration, Beck said. But the chief said police would take a much stricter posture in the coming nights.

"This will not be allowed to continue," Beck said.

Several hundred mostly peaceful protesters gathered Monday night at Leimert Park southwest of downtown LA, many of them chanting, praying and singing.

But a smaller group of between 100 and 150 people splintered off and began blocking traffic on nearby Crenshaw Boulevard, some of them jumping on cars and breaking windows at liquor stores and fast food outlets.

Several protesters ran into a Wal-Mart store, where they knocked down displays before store security chased them out, and police began guarding the door.

Tonya Williams was shopping with her daughter when the protesters burst in and security briefly locked down the store.

"We thought we were going to be stuck in there," Williams said. "We saw the merchandise all thrown around. They had pulled the rack down, and there was merchandise all over the floor."

TV news helicopters showed some people kicking and punching others along the street, including two people sitting on a bus bench.

Police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly about three hours after it began, and most of the crowd left the street.

Garcetti, who returned early from an East Coast trip because of the demonstrations, praised the "overwhelming majority" who protested peacefully.

"We are a better city than what we have seen tonight in the hands of a few people," the mayor said.

In Oakland, dozens of demonstrators briefly blocked all lanes of Interstate 880 at the tail end of rush hour, stopping traffic in both directions for several minutes before lanes were cleared by authorities. Several protesters laid their bicycles on the ground in front of stopped cars.

"You've got to go. You will go to jail," one police officer shouted at demonstrators who were blocking traffic, the Oakland Tribune reported. However, police decided not to make arrests as the marchers, chanting "Justice for Trayvon Martin," were directed back to surface streets.

Later, another group tried to march up the onramp to Interstate 580 before being turned away by Oakland police and California Highway Patrol officers.

The freeway protesters broke off from a larger group organized via social media that gathered at Oakland City Hall about an hour earlier.

Police made nine arrests for crimes including assault with a deadly weapon and vandalism, police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said.

A waiter guarding windows at a restaurant was hit in the face with a hammer, and protesters threw fireworks at police in riot gear, newspapers reported. Police deployed flash-bang grenades.

The waiter's co-workers helped him ice his head as they waited for an ambulance, the Oakland Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/18i9j1E ).

Witnesses told the newspaper that a protester was also injured after being struck by a police projectile. Police did not immediately respond to a request to confirm that report.

Over the weekend, demonstrators in Oakland and Los Angeles blocked traffic and clashed with police in protests over a Florida jury's acquittal of neighborhood watch volunteer Zimmerman in the shooting death of the unarmed black teenager.

Police shot beanbag rounds and arrested six people — including one on suspicion of assaulting an officer — while breaking up relatively small demonstrations before dawn.

No injuries were reported to either demonstrators or officers.

Most demonstrations around the state were peaceful.

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.

"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.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 13 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. It's all about looting, isn't it? "No Justice. No Peace. Let's loot."

  2. More of the result of race baiting by the terror networks ABC,NBC, CBS, Fox, Al Sharpton, BH Obama and Jessie Jackson the Liability for this lies on them, anyone hurt by it should sue them first and soon.

    This is as if to show/prove why some people can't be trusted to remain free.

  3. Right on, Clyde. The race-baiters and rabble-rousers are clearly given a pass by the left. We saw no rioting after the OJ acquittal, did we? Of course not. Two different trials; similar verdicts. One treated with dignity; the other with rioting, and looting. Different cultures; different classes - in a supposedly "classless" society. Little wonder many of us are in accord with the rabble-rouser Jesse Jackson when he said, when walking at night and hearing footsteps behind him, he is relieved when looking back that "it is not a young black male."

  4. The next time a black person kills a Mexican or White person, I say that we get to riot! It is only fair...

  5. True:if you notice I included fox. However I forgot to add the worst of all MSNBC.

  6. Comment removed by moderator. Off Topic

  7. Comment removed by moderator. Off Topic

  8. We understand there is a lot of passion on both sides of this debate, but please try not to lower yourselves to name-calling, personal attacks, or vile vitriol that diminishes one another or the topic.

  9. "Reports on social media" isn't exactly a reliable source since one person tweeting it makes it a "report on social media".

    How about actual NEWS sources for some of these claims?

  10. TAP: they still do not have a case, unless it's a railroad case. The evidence has shown that Martin was the aggressor. Any other conclusion is false.

  11. Comment removed by moderator. - -

  12. Wouldn't things be a lot quieter and nicer if Florida Prosecutor Angela Corey had DONE HER JOB? Z would never have been charged and we wouldn't have suggested that Trayvon Martin was murdered--that it WAS JUSTIFIABLE. Actually it was more than JUSTIFIABLE--it was Z or M and Z made the choice.

  13. We need to end RACIST-PANDERING by politicians AND the media. Z is of very mixed race. I'd gamble that M was also mixed racially. But it may be that "culture" had something to do with all this--that M was unable to deal with the fact that he was responsible for his violent behavior. Still, sympathies to his family and friends. Ditto to Z, his family, his friends.