Protests turned violent in the Crenshaw District of Los Angeles Monday night.
During an otherwise peaceful protest of the George Zimmerman acquittal, groups of protesters broke off and began disturbing passersby and destroying private property.
LAPD declared an “unlawful assembly” in Crenshaw, which meant the protesters must disperse or face arrest. By late evening, a dozen arrests had been made.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck tweeted:
Violence is never the answer. Urging all protestors around LA 2let peace prevail.This is OUR City and we need to work 2gether 2 preserve it
— Chief Charlie Beck (@LAPDChiefBeck) July 16, 2013
The Los Angeles Times reported that authorities said “the police actions came after several hours of lawlessness along Crenshaw Boulevard and adjacent streets as groups of youths stomped on cars, assaulted bystanders, set fires and vandalized property.” The paper also reported that “protesters hurled several chunks of concrete at officers on Vernon Avenue, the Los Angeles Police Department said. No injuries were reported.”
The Oakland Police Department said it had made multiple arrests and called for additional law enforcement to assist with protesters.
In a press conference at 11 p.m., Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Police Chief Charlie Beck confirmed that over 300 officers were deployed to quell the protests and a more than a dozen people had been arrested. “We applaud those who have come and peacefully expressed their opinions tonight,” Garcetti said, “The trial we saw in Florida has ignited passions, but we have to make sure it will not ignite this city.”
Garcetti reminded protesters that Trayvon Martin’s family has asked for peaceful reactions from the public, saying “the Martin family didn’t ask anybody to break car windows” or destroy property. Police Chief Beck announced that LAPD will have “much stricter posture” tomorrow night.
Updated at 2:30 am EST.