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Hundreds of people rallied outside of the federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday to demand action from the U.S. Department of Justice after the acquittal of George Zimmerman, a Florida neighborhood watch captain who fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, during a fight. Reggie Kumar reports from downtown Los Angeles for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 20, 2013.
Chanting "No justice, no peace," more than 500 people rallied in downtown Los Angeles as part of what organizers said was a 100-city effort to demand a federal investigation into violations of Trayvon Martin's civil rights.
The nationwide vigils from New York to Los Angeles were organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton, who is the head of the National Action Network and host of an MSNBC show.
In San Bernardino, 60 people rallied at a county courthouse. Some 100 people rallied at the George E. Brown Jr. Federal Building in Riverside. A rally was also held at a park in Victorville.
The U.S. Department of Justice said last year that it has an open investigation into the 2012 shooting death of Martin by George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges on July 13.
In a statement on Monday, the department said its Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida and FBI "continue to evaluate evidence generated during the federal investigation as well as the evidence and testimony from the state trial."
President Barack Obama said Friday during a surprise appearance in the White House press room that "it's important for people to have some clear expectations" about the likelihood of federal charges being filed against Zimmerman.
"Traditionally these are issues of state and local government... and law enforcement is traditionally done at the state and local levels, not at the federal levels," Obama said.
Saturday’s 100-city vigil comes after a busy week for protesters in Los Angeles, who gathered around the city to protest Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict, and sometimes became violent.
On Monday night, 14 people were arrested after a violent group of protesters split off from a Leimert Park gathering and walked up and down surrounding streets, rushing into businesses, attacking pedestrians and bicyclists, breaking windows and throwing objects at police, officials said.
"We are calling on people to practice peace, to not let the dialogue sparked by Martin's death be silenced by any violence," LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a Monday afternoon conference.
Police on Wednesday arrested 17 people in Victorville, a city outside of Los Angeles, after protesters tried to storm a shopping mall and a group of youths opened items at a gas station market and left without paying, officials said.
On Thursday, 11 people were arrested after a crowd of demonstrators became violent in San Bernardino, Calif., when they threw rocks and bottles at passing motorists, police officers and patrol cars, police said.
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