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LA vows show of force after Zimmerman-linked violence

17 july 2013, 14:48
0
Los Angeles' mayor announced the deployment of extra police Tuesday to prevent more violent protests over the Trayvon Martin trial, after 14 people were arrested in a second night of unrest, AFP reports.

Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) chief Charlie Beck said the show of force was designed to prevent a repeat of the previous evening, when protestors jumped on cars, damaged shops and attacked bystanders.

"Tonight we will be increasing the number of officers deployed, and they will respond quickly to any criminal activity," mayor Eric Garcetti told an afternoon press conference, standing alongside Beck.

"We are calling on people to practice peace.. do not let the dialogue sparked by Trayvon Martin's death be silenced by any violence."

The Martin case pitted people who thought Zimmerman, 29, -- son of a white father and a Peruvian mother -- killed Martin, 17, in self-defense last February, against others who considered it a racially-motivated killing.

Police chief Beck said: "We would prefer that we make no arrest tonight. But be sure, for those of you that were here last night and came for the wrong reasons, if you come here again tonight, you will go to jail.

"Not only will you go to jail, but your actions will take away from the power of this moment. Your actions will reduce the power of the message of this community. And that is wrong. That is a shameful act."

Neither he nor Garcetti said how many police would be deployed Tuesday. Up to 350 officers were on duty Monday night.

On Sunday eight people were arrested, including at a protest outside the CNN building in Hollywood, over the acquittal at trial of volunteer neighborhood watch guard George Zimmerman.

Then late Monday 14 people were arrested after businesses including a Wal-Mart store were damaged as some 150 people "sought to exploit" Zimmerman being cleared of murdering black teen Martin, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said.

The protesters skirmished with police along several streets in the Crenshaw District in southwestern Los Angeles. The Wal-Mart store was damaged, and a restaurant window smashed, local media reported.

Los Angeles is ever mindful of the deadly April 1992 riots in the city, which erupted after the acquittal of four white police officers over the notorious 1991 beating of Rodney King.

Garcetti said Tuesday: "Last night we saw an unfortunate few commit crimes that threaten the peace of the community, and threaten to overshadow the peaceful majority. The LA mayor, who only took office on July 1, added: "The Trayvon Martin case has ignited passions, not only in Los Angeles, but throughout this country. But it will not ignite this city.

"In this City of Angels we will take this moment and make something good of it."

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