LEIMERT PARK (CBSLA.com) — As protests continue over the weekend acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, demonstrators and police alike say they are using social media to get their message out.
On Twitter and Facebook, various groups rallying against the verdict notify friends when and where to meet. Among their followers is the Los Angeles Police Department.
“Social media is very important,” said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. “That’s a lot of ways that they communicate so often times we’ll find out about their plans ahead of time.”
Patti Beers is among those who attended protests in and around Leimert Park and has been streaming footage online.
“It’s the fastest way of distributing information,” said Beers, who said she goes where there is the greatest police presence and streams what she sees, at times reaching thousands of viewers.
“I think people are kind of disillusioned with mainstream media; they don’t really feel like mainstream media is telling them the truth,” she said. “When I’m live streaming, I can’t lie. I can’t twist the story.”
The LAPD said the benefits of social media are also helping law enforcement do its job.
“It’s also a good way for us to get our messages out,” said Chief Beck. “We’ve been tweeting all day about requests for people to remain peaceful, not come to the park if you’re intent on breaking the law.”