14 Arrested In Crenshaw Protests Following Zimmerman Verdict
CRENSHAW (CBSLA.com) — Los Angeles police issued a citywide tactical alert Monday evening and 14 people were arrested as residents took to the streets for a third day in Los Angeles to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
At 9:52p.m., Lt. Andy Neiman told KCAL9 that the LAPD had declared an unlawful assembly. Protesters were given a designated amount of time to disperse or be subject to arrest.
Just after 11p.m. Mayor Eric Garcetti, Police Chief Charlie Beck, County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Councilman Bernard Parks held a press conference to address the violence.
Mayor Garcetti commended those who peacefully protested, whom he called “the overwhelming majority of those community members who came out here.”
“The Martin family was very clear that those who sympathize with their plight,” said Garcetti. “The best way to honor their son and their loved one is in a non-violent manner.”
Earlier in the evening, a group of protestors traveled on Crenshaw Blvd. towards the Inglewood area around 8 p.m.
At one point, demonstrators could be seen running, biking, or skateboarding in the middle of the streets. Some climbed on top of vehicles. Footage also shows protesters kicking in windows, knocking over trash cans and attempting to pull down an iron fence outside of a property.
Later, protestors were seen setting off fireworks at the center of Crenshaw Blvd. as they moved northbound towards Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Fire trucks were seen traveling to a gas station at the corner of Slauson Ave. and Crenshaw Blvd. after an individual appeared to have been assaulted by members of the group.
“Unfortunately, the rights of the many have been abused by the actions of a few,” said Chief Beck.
“Because of that, tomorrow the Los Angeles Police will have a much stricter posture in the way that we deal with people taking the streets of Crenshaw Blvd,” he said. “That is extremely unfortunate. We want to facilitate First Amendment rights.”
Lt. Neiman told KCAL9 that it was important to distinguish this particular crowd from an organized vigil in Leimert Park during the day. Organizers of that event asked protestors to stay put in the park and not to disrupt traffic.
Mayor Garcetti took to Twitter to commend the protesters at the Leimert Park vigil, calling on those on Crenshaw Blvd. to follow that example.
I commend the prayer rally attendees in Leimert Park for practicing peace. I call on people in street on Crenshaw to follow their example.—
Eric Garcetti (@ericgarcetti) July 16, 2013
Around 9 p.m., LAPD officers swarmed a Walmart near Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza after a group attempted to enter the store. Another skirmish line was established at the entrance of the parking lot.
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
Police were forced to move officers from different divisions to cover certain areas, and reportedly planned to keep people off the streets and freeways.
“We will do everything in our power to make sure everybody is safe and able to do so in a safe manner,” said Sunny Sasajima of the LAPD’s Southwest Division.
Business owner Gwen Hill told CBS2′s Jeff Nguyen that she hoped things would not get worse at night.
“I do not want to come in tomorrow and my windows are broke out and my store is on fire,” said Hill, who said she agrees with the demonstrators when it comes to the Zimmerman verdict.
“We’re all hurt and a little angry about the way that turned out,” she said. “But it’s not necessary to tear up the town.”
On Sunday evening, protests led to the shutdown of streets and part of the 10 Freeway in Crenshaw.