LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A day after a rampage in Crenshaw over the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, Angelenos peacefully rallied for justice.
Protestors gathered on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall in downtown around 6 p.m. Tuesday as part of a “Justice for Trayvon” event organized by the ANSWER LA Coalition.
“I think it’s basically about rights. I think the Stand Your Ground laws are unjust,” a protestor told KCAL9’s Suraya Fadel.
“It doesn’t matter what color you are, what race you are, black, brown, Asian, we are all trying to unite for Trayvon Martin. Because that could be our brother, our sister, it could be anyone in our family. We want to call unity from all races to come together to demand justice for Trayvon,” a woman said.
The group of about 200 people later began to march down various streets. Police in patrol cars and on bicycles escorted the crowd.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the organized group didn’t get the required permit to protest around City Hall and police headquarters, but the incident commander made the decision not to cite them.
Beck said that despite the calm and unified get-together, he will deploy extra resources in downtown and in the Crenshaw district until further notice.
“I have way too many resources dedicated to these issues tonight. These resources are not free. They come at a cost…to every neighborhood in Los Angeles. Every neighborhood has less police tonight than they would normally have. Last night was not really about people who were interested in exercising their First Amendment…what it was about was people interested in causing a huge disruption, and damaging property, and injuring people,” he said.
On Monday night, 150 people broke off from a peaceful rally in Leimert Park and threw rocks, broke windows and set fires in trash cans on the streets of Crenshaw. Some also caused damage to fast-food restaurants and other local establishments. Fourteen people were eventually arrested.
As a result, police patrols were beefed up in the area for a Tuesday night demonstration. Community “peacemakers” also helped ease the situation.
“We’re back tonight just to let the community know that we’re here for them. We’re also here for the youth…to give them guidance…to help them channel their dysfunctionality into something constructive and make it a safe environment for all,” said Aquil Basheer.
Street artist Tony B. Conscious said he wants to inspire kids.
“Take your anger and put it in a way that will make our community more beautiful…that will then inspire the next little kid coming up who is going to say, ‘Wow, look what this guy did. Maybe I don’t have to tag or tear up the community. Maybe I can make the community better,’” he said.