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Violence mars Trayvon Martin verdict protests

Young people vandalize businesses

City News Service | 7/18/2013, midnight
Zimmerman protesters march Sunday, July 14, 2013, along the streets of Hollywood near the CNN L.A. bureau. Alan Duke

“We had an extremely violent weekend during which I would have loved to have used those same resources to prevent further violence but I was unable to do so,” he said. “This is a relatively small police department with a huge mission, and it taxes us to the extreme when we have to deal with situations like this.”

Of the 14 people arrested Monday, seven adults and six juveniles were suspected of failing to disperse and one was suspected of inciting a riot, according to LAPD Detective Gus Villanueva.

Firefighters put out several small fires and responded to “a couple” of minor injuries, according to Erik Scott of the Los Angeles Fire Department, which had 30 extra firefighters deployed to the area in case of trouble, along with arson investigators and chiefs who were working with the LAPD.

At a late-night news conference, Mayor Eric Garcetti lashed out at protesters who engaged in violent acts.

“The trial that we saw in Florida has ignited passions, but we have to make sure that it will not ignite this city and we see a small group that has taken this opportunity to exploit this situation—acts of vandalism, attacks against other community members,” Garcetti said.

“The Martin family was very clear that those who sympathize with their plight, the best way to honor their son and their loved one is in a nonviolent manner. People deserve to be able to express their opinions and we will continue to allow that ... to happen, but people also deserve to be safe on their streets and in their cars.”

Beck said Monday night that his department wanted to facilitate the exercise of First Amendment rights by residents who want to protest peacefully, but the violence forced LAPD to take a firmer stance in terms maintaining law and order.

“Unfortunately, we were sorely disappointed by the actions of about 150 individuals who decided to break away from the peaceful protest and vandalize and assault individuals upon Crenshaw Boulevard,” he said.

“We deployed over 300 police officers. A dozen arrests, multiple incidents of vandalism, several incidences of assault—this will not be allowed to continue. Unfortunately, the rights of the many have been abused by the actions of a few.

Protesters did some damage to the Wal-Mart at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, and a window was smashed at a Jack in the Box restaurant.

At a news conference Tuesday morning near the damaged Wal-Mart, community activist Earl Ofari Hutchinson announced that “community peace monitors” would be deployed in various areas that night to guard against a repetition of the violence.

“In the memory of Trayvon Martin, his mother, his father, they have asked for this repeatedly—over and over again—don’t use violence, don’t use destruction, don’t use his name, don’t use his memory for violence,” Hutchinson said.

During Monday night’s disturbance, KCAL9 reporter Dave Bryan and a cameraman were tackled by what appeared to be a pair of protesters while conducting an interview. According to the station, both were treated for minor injuries.

A KPCC-FM (89.3) reporter told another photographer she had her phone and a video card taken from her by suspects who tried to take her camera.

By ELIZABETH HSING-HUEI CHOU