People protesting the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial clashed with police Sunday night in Los Angeles, with one group of protesters blocking a major freeway.
The Los Angeles Times reported that a splinter group from a larger protest walked down an on-ramp to the Interstate 10 freeway in the Mid-City section of Los Angeles and stood in the eastbound lanes, closing portions of the traffic artery for approximately 25 minutes.
The Los Angeles Police Department called a citywide tactical alert at approximately 7:30 p.m. local time following the freeway incident.Motorists were urged to avoid the area around the 10 Freeway and Crenshaw Boulevard due to jammed traffic.
The Times also quoted an LAPD spokesman who said that at least one arrest was made after rocks and D-cell batteries were thrown at officers at the corner of Washington Boulevard and 10th Avenue. Police also fired non-lethal rounds at the demonstrators. No injuries were immediately reported.
Zimmerman, 29, was found not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the February 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman had confessed to shooting the teen, but claimed to act in self-defense. Prosecutors said that Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, had profiled Martin and followed him, creating a confrontation.
n New York City, hundreds of protesters marched into Times Square on Sunday night, zigzagging through Manhattan’s streets to avoid police lines.
Sign-carrying marchers thronged the busy intersection, chanting “Justice for! Trayvon Martin!” as they made their way from Union Square.
Some tempered their anger, saying they didn’t contest the jury’s decision based on the legal issues involved.
But “while the verdict may be legal, a system that doesn’t take into account what happened is a broken legal system,” said Jennifer Lue, 24, an Asian-American resident of Harlem.
Rev. Jacqueline Lewis told the Middle Collegiate Church congregation in Manhattan Sunday morning, “We’re going to raise our voices against the root causes of this kind of tragedy,” while Baptist Pastor Jack Hakimian reportedly expressed disappointment and resignation at the Impact Miami Church in North Miami.
In South Florida, a wary populace awoke to relative calm Sunday, as fears of mass and violent protests proved unfounded in the face of a highly-visible police presence.
“I haven’t seen any evidence of problems yet, and hopefully there won’t be any,” Ed Shohat, a Miami-Dade’s Community Relations Board member, told The Miami Herald. “We do not believe (violence) will happen. Frankly, Miami is a … more mature community than … 25, 30 years ago when we had violent reactions to criminal court verdicts.”
Meanwhile, Mark O’Mara, who defended Zimmerman at trial, suggested his client’s safety was at risk. “There still is a fringe element that wants revenge,” O’Mara said. “They won’t listen to a verdict of not guilty.”
However, Martin supporters — for the most part — somberly grieved the verdict in a non-violent fashion.
Some detractors of the verdict spoke of a lingering and ineffable sadness, which they sought to privately assuage through the comfort of family and friends. Others convened in places of worship —
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