Protests turned violent in Los Angeles following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in Florida. Aerial video caught some throwing rocks, attacking people and clashing with police. Patrick Healy reports from the Crenshaw District for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on July 15, 2013.
Los Angeles police made arrests after a peaceful prayer vigil gave way to violence at Leimert Park on Monday, the second night of unrest after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida.
Fourteen people were arrested -- most for failure to disperse -- in connection with the violence, Los Angeles Police Department officials told NBC4 Tuesday morning. Aerial video caught some throwing rocks, attacking people and clashing with police. No serious injuries were reported, police said.
A prayer vigil began peacefully about 6 p.m. before a group broke off from the vigil and incited chaos in the streets. Just before 10 p.m., the Los Angeles Police Department declared the protest an unlawful assembly and dispersed the gathering, an LAPD spokesman said.
"The rights of the many have been abused by the actions of a few," said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.
The area quickly cleared and officers detained several people. Beck said officers will be out in force Tuesday night to prevent a repeat of the violence
"The best way to honor (Trayvon Martin) is in a nonviolent manner," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. "The Martin family didn't ask anybody to break car windows. They didn't ask anybody to take little kids' scooters. They didn't ask anybody to attack businesses. And they certainly didn't say to take over traffic in the streets."
Protesters showed disapproval of a jury's not guilty verdict in the case of George Zimmerman, a 29-year-old neighborhood watch captain who fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old in a Sanford, Fla., gated community.
The Zimmerman trial 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.
On Monday night, a majority of protesters were gathered at Leimert Park (map), but a violent group split off and walked up and down surrounding streets, rushing into businesses, attacking pedestrians and bicyclists, breaking windows and throwing objects at police.
LAPD officers appeared to use rubber bullets or bean bag weapons against some of the protesters at one point.
Cameras also captured an attack on a CBS2/KCAL9 news crew as they conducted an interview. The crew members were treated for minor injuries, according to the station.
As a violent group split off from the peaceful prayer vigil, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted: "I commend the prayer rally attendees in Leimert Park for practicing peace. I call on people in street on Crenshaw to follow their example."
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"
In Oakland on Monday, a group of protesters briefly blocked Interstate 880.
On Sunday night in Los Angeles, police made arrests and issued citations during demonstrations across the city.
At one point, protesters blocked Interstate 10 at Arlington Boulevard for more than 30 minutes. At another, a group broke off and walked into the W Hotel, causing some $15,000 in damage to the lobby, said LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith, a department spokesman.
On Monday night, Smith said, the protests began peacefully but a group broke off and turned violent.
"It originally started out as a peaceful protest, as they all have, and we certainly support that - in fact encourage people to peacefully protest, exercise their First Amendment rights," LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith told NBC4. "But what happened here unfortunately is some people took this as an opportunity to break into buildings, to jump on cars, to commit acts of vandalism, to assault other people and to commit some thefts from some of the buildings here."
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