LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Mayor Eric Garcetti called on South Los Angeles protesters Tuesday to remain peaceful following the George Zimmerman verdict.
Garcetti was joined by LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and community leaders at Dorsey High School to explain how the police department will respond to “maintain the safety of neighborhood residents and businesses” after 150 people broke off from a peaceful rally in Leimert Park Monday night and threw rocks, broke windows and set fires in trash cans on the streets of Crenshaw.
The mayor congratulated Beck and other police officials for doing “an extraordinary job” in dealing with the wave of protests, which resulted in 14 arrests.
“The Trayvon Martin case has ignited passions not only in Los Angeles, but throughout this country,” Garcetti said. “But it will not ignite this city.”
He called upon the community to “practice peace” and vowed to protect local businesses from vandals.
“No cause is advanced, no good is accomplished, when a window is broken, when a traffic is blocked, when a fire is lighted, when someone is assaulted. We are united with the community in maintaining peace in the city of Los Angeles,” said Garcetti.
Beck responded to concerns that the LAPD allowed things to get out of hand in Crenshaw.
“It’s a delicate balance. We are very cognizant of people’s right to demonstrate, but there becomes a time when the public right to safety overcomes the right of an individual to express their opinion,” he said.
Crenshaw High student Timothy Walker also took to the podium to call for greater cooperation between City Hall and the public at large.
“The community really cares about this issue, and elected officials are the people who can help us really voice our opinion,” Walker said. “I want to thank Mayor Garcetti for allowing me to share my voice.”