More Zimmerman Verdict Protests Are Underway in LA

Demonstrators gathered for a nighttime “prayer rally” in Leimert Park in South LA

By Jason Kandel, Toni Guinyard and Beverly White
|  Thursday, Jul 25, 2013  |  Updated 4:40 PM PDT
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Community activists called for calm as a third night of protests was set, a day after demonstrators took to the streets of LA over George Zimmerman's acquittal at his murder trial for the slaying of Trayvon Martin. Toni Guinyard reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Monday, July 15, 2013.

Community activists called for calm as a third night of protests was set, a day after demonstrators took to the streets of LA over George Zimmerman's acquittal at his murder trial for the slaying of Trayvon Martin. Toni Guinyard reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Monday, July 15, 2013.

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This story was orginally posted on Monday, July 15 and updated on Thursday, July 25. The new information appears in paragraph 8 and is as follows: A representative with the LAPD showed NBC4 a copy of the police report detailing the damage the W Hotel reported, estimated in the document at a cost at $15,000.

Another round of planned of planned protests over George Zimmerman's acquittal at his murder trial for the slaying of Trayvon Martin are underway Monday evening.

Crowds have gathered in Leimert Park for what a "prayer vigil" that began at 6 p.m.

Supporters of Trayvon Martin’s family brought signs and concerns to corner at Vernon Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard, where the vigil will take place.

"I'm devastated. I heard the verdict and I just couldn’t believe it," said Nicole Littleton, of Crenshaw. "How does a man take a life and walk? I just don’t understand, but all I could do is just fall to my knees and pray."

Los Angeles police had braced for more demonstrations Monday, a day after protests became unruly.

“If something gets out of control, we’ll send additional patrols over there,” said LAPD Officer Norma Eisenman, a department spokeswoman.

Police made arrests and issued citations during demonstrations across LA on Sunday. At one point a group broke off and walked into the W Hotel, causing some $15,000 in damage, including knocking over heat lamps in the parking lot, said LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith, a department spokesman.

A representative with the LAPD showed NBC4 a copy of the police report detailing the damage the W Hotel reported, estimated in the document at a cost at $15,000.

Sunday's demonstrations came a day after a six-woman jury found 29-year-old Zimmerman not guilty in the shooting death of 17-year-old Martin, who was black, in a Sanford, Fla., gated community.

The case fueled a national debate about race, guns and Florida's "stand-your-ground" law that broadens the definition of self-defense and the legal scope of the use of firearms in exercising it.

Najee Ali, a community activist, appealed for peaceful demonstrations in Los Angeles.

"Certainly people have the right to express themselves," he said. "They're angry. I'm angry. I'm outraged. But certainly closing freeways, shutting them down, and vandalism is not the way to protest."

Ali said he was concerned about outsiders coming to the rally to "promote violence and vandalism."

Demonstrators gathered in Leimert Park Monday evening joined in urging for peaceful protests.

"I wanted to be part of this and to have people know that there needs to be justice and to do it peacefully," said Barbara Walker, of Long Beach.

The planned rally comes as community activist and commentator Earl Ofari Hutchinson echoed a call made by the NAACP over the weekend to demand that the U.S. Justice Department bring civil rights charges against Zimmerman.

Mayor Eric Garcetti cut short a trip on the East Coast to return to LA out of an "abundance of caution" to handle the protests, KPCC reported. On Sunday, Garcetti issued a call for calm on Twitter.

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