People protesting the George Zimmerman "not guilty" verdict blocked a freeway and were shot with bean bag rifles after they allegedly threw objects at police. Tena Ezzeddine reports from the Crenshaw District for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Sunday, July 14, 2014.
Hundreds of people protesting the not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial marched onto the eastbound Interstate 10 near Arlington Avenue (map) on Sunday, shutting down the freeway for more than 30 minutes and clashing with police, authorities said.
Los Angeles Police Department officers fired bean bags at protesters after some people threw objects at officers, LAPD Commander Andrew Smith told NBC4. Video shot by protesters showed police officers striking protesters with batons.
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One person was arrested as of 11 p.m. and no LAPD officers were injured, NBC4's Tena Ezzeddine reported. LAPD confirmed that one person was arrested on suspicion of throwing bottles and rocks at officers at 21st Street and 10th Avenue.
The protesters took to the streets to protest a day after Florida jurors found George Zimmerman not guilty in the killing of Trayvon Martin. LAPD had planned ahead and prepared for protests, officials told NBC4.
Protests were also held in other major cities, including Chicago, New York, San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland on Sunday. The crowds in Oakland and San Francisco remained peaceful at least into the early evening.
In Oakland, hundreds of people marched through the streets. At one point, an American flag was burned.
NBC News reported that in New York City, thousands of demonstrators marched from Union Square to the tourist-heavy Times Square Sunday night, slowing and in some cases halting traffic. WNBC reported the area was gridlocked with people holding signs in support of Martin and calling Zimmerman’s acquittal a failure of the judicial system.
In Los Angeles, the group of at least 200 was cleared from I-10 by about 7 p.m., when LAPD officers began firing rubber bullets, protesters said. Some of the first tweets showing photos of people on the freeway were posted shortly after 6 p.m.
At least two major protests were held in Los Angeles, beginning about 4 p.m. - one at Martin Luther King Jr and Crenshaw boulevards and another in Leimert Park in South Los Angeles.
Several people were also struck by bean bags in a shopping center near 10th Avenue and Washington Boulevard in Mid-City, said Jasmyne Cannick, who tweeted photos of the protesters and said she and an attorney were observing the rally.
"They're in pain and I don't know what's going to happen to them," Cannick said.
She said that protesters seemed confused and panicked once officers began firing the bean bags at them from multiple sides.
Photos on social media showed a large group of people walking on the freeway with no cars in sight. Several of the people held signs and banners.
Twitter user Jasmyne Cannick (@jasmyne) tweeted "We are literally walking on the 10 freeway for Trayvon Martin! #NoJustice"
The Los Angeles Police Department remained on tactical alert into the early hours of Monday.
— Jasmyne Cannick (@jasmyne) July 15, 2013
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