13 George Zimmerman Protestors Arrested

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said violence and vandalism in city streets  resulted in 13 arrests in protests over George Zimmerman’s Florida acquittal in  the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Speaking at a news conference with Garcetti late Monday, LAPD Chief Charlie  Beck said about 150 people broke off from a larger, peaceful protest and began walking through the streets, committing multiple acts of vandalism and several  assaults.

The officials didn’t elaborate on the assaults or any potential injuries.

Beck said more than 300 officers were called to the scene. They were slow to  directly engage the protesters in an attempt to allow a peaceful end to the  demonstration.

He said police would take a much stricter posture if the protests continued  for another night.

Protesters ran through Los Angeles streets, stopping traffic, breaking  windows and at one point raiding a Wal-Mart store, and a major freeway was  blocked in the San Francisco Bay Area in the third night of protests in  California over George Zimmerman’s Florida acquittal in the shooting death of  Trayvon Martin.

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

But a smaller group of about 100 people splintered off and began blocking  traffic on nearby Crenshaw Boulevard, some of them jumping on cars and breaking  windows.

At about 10 p.m., a few hours after the splinter protest began, police  declared the group an unlawful assembly, and many in the crowd began to  disperse.

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.

TV news helicopters showed some people apparently throwing punches along the  street. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

“I commend the prayer rally attendees in Leimert Park for practicing peace,”  tweeted LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, who returned early from an East Coast visit. “I  call on people in street on Crenshaw to follow their example.”

In Oakland, dozens of demonstrators briefly blocked all lanes of Interstate  880 at the tail end of rush hour Monday evening, stopping traffic in both  directions for several minutes before they 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. Several people  were arrested for acts of violence and vandalism while marching from City Hall,  authorities said.

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.

“Trayvon Martin’s death was a tragedy and has raised many sensitive and  important issues,” she wrote. “We should explore every avenue in an effort to  ensure that something like this never happens again.”


Source: Associated Press