November 27, 2014

 

City News Service 

 

Scattered protests broke out earlier this week in various portions of the Los Angeles area in response to a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to charge a white police officer for the shooting death of an 18-year-old black man. There were no reports of arrests or violence. Between 50 and 100 protesters began marching north from Leimert Park on Monday night where people had been waiting for news about whether a grand jury would indict Ferguson, Missouri, Officer Darren Wilson for the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown, KCAL9 reported.

 

Some people in the park reacted with tears.

 

“It seems like it is never going to come around where communities of color even matter,” Leisette Rodriguez of Long Beach told the Los Angeles Times.

 

A heavy contingent of firefighters and police officers and about five helicopters followed the progress of the protesters, trying to clear the way for them. About 50 protesters briefly tried to get on the Santa Monica (10) Freeway shouting, “Shut it down! Shut it down!” according to KCAL. However, a number of California Highway Patrol officers quickly chased them from the freeway.

 

A group of protesters shut down the intersection of La Brea Avenue and Venice Boulevard for a few minutes, Fox11 reports. Protesters outside the Los Angeles Police Department's Homer F. Broome Jr. Southwest Community Police Station shouted, “Death to killer cops,” the Los Angeles Times reported. A group of protesters laid down on Wilshire Boulevard in front of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, shouting at times, “No justice, no peace,” with one carrying a sign, “One Solution Revolution,” Fox11 reported.

 

At least two of the protesters wore yarmulkes, the skullcaps worn by some observant Jews. There were also protests in other portions of South Los Angeles, the

 

Wilshire district and Westwood. The Los Angeles Police Department went on a citywide tactical alert in advance of the announcement of the grand jury’s decision, allowing them to keep officers on duty beyond their normal shifts.

 

Southland community leaders and elected officials had pleaded for calm. In a statement issued from Asia where he is on a trade mission, Mayor Eric Garcetti said, “Michael Brown’s death has ignited deep passions across the nation, and Los Angeles is no exception.

 

“Tonight’s decision is one that will be heatedly debated — but we should do so through dialogue and peaceful action. City departments are nmobilized to assist in the exercise of peaceful protest.”

 

Los Angeles County Sheriff-elect Jim McDonnell urged “those who may be disappointed by today’s decision to nonetheless respect the outcome and processes of our legal system.”

 

“The greatness of our nation comes from our ability to come together peacefully and lawfully, to speak up about what is on our minds and to respect one another,” McDonnell said.

 

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said he understood the strong feelings surrounding the decision.

 

“Here in Los Angeles, although we still have much to do, we’ve come far in building trust between those who enforce our laws and the communities they serve,” Feuer said.

 

“It is even more important today to continue that focus, working constructively together toward a society that is safe, just and fair for everyone.”

 

Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, lamented “the grand jury’s decision not to indict (Wilson) for the senseless death of a young unarmed man.”

 

“As immigrants seeking to be part of the American Dream, we painfully realize the dream for other U.S. citizens is also short-handed, outright denied and fraught with injustice. Life, liberty and justice still needs to be guaranteed for all citizens.”

 

Salas urged the public to use its “anger and disillusionment” as impetus to “continue fighting for justice and equality for all.”

 

Members of some community groups, including the Coalition for Community Control Over the Police, the Youth Justice Coalition and the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, indicated previously they would likely stage a protest at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards.

 

“LAPD will facility peaceful demonstrations and will allow your voices (to) be heard,” Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck wrote on his Twitter account this afternoon in advance of the announcement.

Category: News



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