Leimert Park Rally Held for Slain Florida Teen Trayvon Martin

George Zimmerman, a volunteer neighborhood watch captain, says he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense

By Jonathan Lloyd and Beverly White
|  Thursday, Mar 22, 2012  |  Updated 11:21 PM PDT
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As thousands rallied in Sanford, Fla., the site of the killing of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin, hundreds came to a protest in Los Angeles’ Leimert Park neighborhood. NBC4's Beverly White reports from Leimert Park.

Beverly White, David Gregory

As thousands rallied in Sanford, Fla., the site of the killing of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin, hundreds came to a protest in Los Angeles’ Leimert Park neighborhood. NBC4's Beverly White reports from Leimert Park.

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SoCal Rallies for Justice in Trayvon Martin Killing

The call for justice in the death of Trayvon Martin has been heard across the country, and rallies are being organized in Southern California in support of the slain Florida teen. Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Steve Levine discusses Florida’s “stand your ground” law, while gun safety teacher Nolan Avery talks about gun-owners’ rights. NBC4’s Antonio Castelan reports from a rally in Leimert Park.

SoCal Rallies for Justice in Trayvon Martin Killing

The call for justice in the death of Trayvon Martin has been heard across the country, and rallies are being organized in Southern California in support of the slain Florida teen. Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Steve Levine discusses Florida’s “stand your ground” law, while gun safety teacher Nolan Avery talks about gun-owners’ rights. NBC4’s Antonio Castelan reports from a rally in Leimert Park.
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Citizens poured in Leimert Park Thursday evening to call for justice in the case of an unarmed teen gunned down in a gated Florida community by a volunteer captain of a neighborhood watch group.

"The meaning of what this moment is, for the young African American who could have similar experience in different areas of the world," said Ishmael Kannike, father and demonstrator.

The shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last month in Sanford, Fla. has sparked reaction across the country. Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, 28, has said he shot Martin, who was visiting the home of his father's girlfriend in the gated community, in self-defense.

"It's been over a month since this young man was murdered," said Rev. Lewis Logan, with Ruach Christian Church. "His blood still cries from the ground."

Hip-hop arist and activist Yolanda "YoYo" Whitaker used social media to draw friends and fans in LA to rally for Trayvon.

"Had the young man been a white 17 year old, hooded in a commnity and the killer been a Black man 260 pounds, we wouldn't be having this discussion," she said.

Demonstrators in South LA joined thousands that rallied with Martin's parents Thursday in Sanford, Fla., where the town's police chief now said he's "temporarily" stepping down.

"We mad as hell, and we aren't taking this anymore," said Delana Sowell, who took part in the rally in Leimert Park.

Sowell, like thousands of other protesters across the country, is angry because the man who shot Martin hasn't been arrested.

"Everybody want to take matters into their own hands," Sowell said. "Nobody want to tolerate with anybody."

Another local demonstration is scheduled for Saturday at Hollywood and Highland.

The Rev. Al Sharpton attended a rally in Sanford Thursday, a day after that city's council voted 3-2 that it had no confidence in Police Chief Bill Lee Jr., who later announced he was temporarily leaving his post.

"We did not come here for a temporary leave of absence, we came for permanent justice. Arrest Zimmerman now," Sharpton said.

The Florida state attorney for Seminole County announced Tuesday that a grand jury would be investigating the case. The U.S. Justice Department and the FBI announced on Monday that they had also begun an investigation into the shooting.

"This is not about a black thing or white thing," said mother Sybrina Fulton during a march Wednesday in New York. "It's a right or wrong thing."

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