Protests and rallies continue in the Leimert Park area of Los Angeles, southeast of LAX. About 15o people have shut down Crenshaw Blvd around Slauson, walking north along the busy artery. There is another protest/prayer vigil/rally at Leimert Park where about a more people are gather.
8:15 Police are staying away form the crow for the most part, until the a few people rush a building and try to jump on stores’ iron security gates and banging on parked cars, when the police then form a skirmish line.
8:21 A police helicopter is illuminating the group walking up Crenshaw pack to the park. They have taken the northbound lane, and police cars are blocking the streets to allow the walkers to pass. The crowd is moving more slowly now, and the police are walking along.
8:24 Someone who was lying on the sidewalk is getting punched at Slauson and Crenshaw. Others tried to break up it, and the crowd moved on. The LAPD airship is still overhead. (at 8:40 paramedics are on site to attend to the person)
8:36 A minvan is swarmed by about 15 protestors who have run ahead of the crowd. The woman driver gets out for a minute and the group jumps off the car, then once she is back in, jump back on, before continuing to march. The minivan drives off..
8:40: Lt Andy Neiman from LAPD says the group is out of control and the LAPD will make arrests (so far one has been made). No confirmed damaged, but reports of damaged vehicles and property. Primary focus is is to get crowd on sidewalk and back to the park, and if necessary arrest those who are breaking the law. As they see individuals violating the law, teams will go in an extract the violators and arrest them. He says it unfortunate that a First Amendment event and what should be a solemn event being ruin by a few troublemakers. The LAPD doesn’t want this to become a confrontation.
When you start breaking the law the message gets lost and that’s what we are seeing now.
As a side note, LA’s newly elected mayor, Eric Garcetti, who was out of town on vacation, visiting friends In Philadephia before business meetings later this week in DC, has cut his trip short and is back in LA. Because really a vacation and out of town trip two weeks after election is so responsible.
8:50. Fireworks are being set off. The marchers reached the park and rally and have kept marching, heading to Martin Lusther King Blv. They set off some fireworks. There are no skirmish lines. The police are letting them keep marching in th estreet, though the southbound lanes are open on Crenshaw.
8:54 The marches are at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza mall, trying to get into the WalMart. (Last night the marchers entered the W Hotel and did some damage). WalMart appears to be locked down, protestors threw some shopping carts at the doors, and security came out. The vandals ran off. (The marchers will walk for a period of time, then some of group will run ahead, making it hard for the police to stage in front of them or maintain constant supervision).
8:59, And Stocker and Crenshaw, there is some smoke on the street. The Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza mall is emptying of customers, and police are there. There may vandalism/theft at the mall. The LAPD is setting up a mobile field force and securing the mall.
9:08 Police formed a skirmish line at mall parking lot entrances blocking the further marchers from entering. The crowd is moving further north.
Now there is other news stuff. Blah blah blah. Charlie Brown sounds.
9:20 LAPD Chief Beck tweets:
9:23 The group is now returned to the park and shut down an intersection. Two LAPD airships are overhead, police trying to get in place. Cars are being swarmed. People from the Leimert Park rally are standing in the park watching the chaos, some trying to reason with crowds.
9:25. A group of seven or eight is running, more follow. There is a fire in a trash can. The crowd slowly follows the runners. A fire truck is heading to the trash can fire. The police have now set up a skirmish line south of the park, around 43rd to move the people back to the official rally. There is another skirmish line at the park, so the splinter group is between two sets of LAPD at either end of the block. They dash through a parking lot to dodge the police. The cops do not follow. More from the prayer vigil rally at the park are coming out to speak with group in the street to invite them to join in.
9:37 LAPD is now on full tactical alert and massing at the Pollo Loco at Vernon and Crenshaw. A crowd is scampering into the park for the corner, running into the park. Lt. Neiman says he wants to get a message out to the community that people should text or call their kids if they are out on the streets and ask them to come home because a mob mentality is starting to take over. He hopes the community steps up so the police don’t have to. The majority of the crowd in the streets are younger. A car stopped in the street and two guys got in; the car drove off. Was it their mom?
Lt. Neiman says at some point the LAPD will declare unlawful assembly and there may be arrests. There are children and juveniles in the crowd, and he would prefer not to make arrests.
9:52 LAPD declaring unlawful arrest as I type this. There are resources in place to make arrests. The crowd is being given a time frame to disperse, and the dispersal will be controlled so they don’t mob in another location. They are usually given 5-10 minutes to leave. Lt. Neiman is urging people to text and call their friends and family if they are out there and tell them to leave. Community members are coming into the crowd and telling them to go home.
9:59 Crowd is moving. Sort of. They moved a block. LAPD skirmish lines are in place. Still just one arrest, though that may change. Groups of ones and twos can pass by the police and head home. It looks like about 75 people left.
10:02 About 5 people started running away from the main group, dashing across Crenshaw, while other groups are slowly walking on the sidewalks, presumably to their homes. No official report on damages yet. At the mall, police are declaring unlawful assembly, and people are leaving. Police are marching with green guns (rubber bullets). They may start to surround the crowd if the crowd doesn’t disperse.
10:06 I can hear the dispersal orders under the news reports. The area has pretty much cleared out, but there are still clots of people on corners. A group is at 11th Ave and Vernon, which is more residential, but officers are a block away, and the airship is overhead. The crowd is just standing in the corner, crossing back and forth through the intersection.
10:10 Crowd is running on 11th Ave. Garcetti tweets
10:12 Police squaring off with a few protestors. Now rerun of a portion of Zimmerman jury member’s interview with Anderson Cooper.
10:14 Many police at Pollo Loco, but no confirmed arrests made yet. More local news, large fire in Riverside County, over 1000 acres, threatening an animal rescue, and possibly Ronald McDonald Children’s Camp. And the major freeway closure could be over soon–the connector between the north 2 and north 5 was damaged in a major fire, clogging local streets with detoured drivers. It may be partially open by tomorrow morning. Add one to two hours to your commute.
10:24 KCAL helicopter shows arrests being made, about a dozen people arrested at 11th Ave and Vernon, more at 8th and Vernon. Other people just ran.
10:28 more taken into custody. LAPD airship has spotted group hiding in alley. The arrests group is being taken into paddy wagon for processing at the Pollo Loco which is now the local command center (only in LA!). The arrestees may not go to jail, though, per the KCAL reporter (I suppose it depends on age, if they have warrants, etc). LAPD is working through neighborhood to pick up stragglers.
Oh no, sports news…zzzzz.
11:00 Switched to KABC. Things have calmed down, Crenshaw Blvd is open. KABC is running tape and things look more violent than KCAL’s footage did, including shots of protestors throwing things at cop cars. KABC reporting KCAL’s news crew and van were attacked (weirdly KCAL said nothing about that) and were attended to by ambulances.
Over to KCBS, KCAL’s sister station, hoping to learn more about news crew:
11:08 Mayor is speaking. 350 officers, 13 arrests. Mayor is at Pollo Loco command post praising the peaceful demonstrators for honoring Trayvon and the Martin family. The city will allow peaceful protests that respect the community and the rights of all people. The Martin family didn’t ask people to take little kids scooters, break windows and commit other acts of violence. He thanks those community members who peacefully assembled and will continue to support First Amendment rights. He concludes:
We are a great city, a better city than the one we saw tonight.
Next up Police Chief Beck. He says First Amendment rights are supported, but not acts of violence. Tonight the rights of the many were abused by the few. LAPD wants to facilitate First Amendment rights to speak up peacefully, but cannot allow people to infringe on the rights of the community. There are important voices that need to be heard. Asks parents not to send your children to protest in and around Crenshaw. LAPD wants to keep everybody safe. He also said they were going to be more of a presence and will take a tougher stance tomorrow.
County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas recalls the Rodney King riots 21 years ago when he was the district’s council member. He says non-violence is the best way to communicate how to address injustice, saying we should honor tradition of Martin Luther King. He asks that everyone please obey the police. Violence does not further the cause. There will be a day of dialogue in the city.
City councilman/former LA police chief Bernard Parks commends the police department. We should be thinking of Trayvon’s family. Urges parents to tell their children to obey the law, they cannot jump on cars, beat on people, disobey the police. He starts to talk about how he saw two riots in this area in his life (Watts and Rodney King), at which point the fade him down the newscaster begins to summarize what we have just seen, emphasizing that parents should talk tot their kids and that the police will be less lenient tomorrow.
I watched for two hours and will say the LAPD was very mellow, no rubber bullets, no bean bags. I hope though that the ALCU and legal observers are there tomorrow, and that troublemakers are not.