Demonstrators upset about the George Zimmerman verdict were planning to be in Westwood tonight, and not all of them were expected to behave.
LAPD has warned businesses in Westwood Village that mayhem is possible, and the department is beefing up its patrols with the help of the California Highway Patrol, L.A. County Sheriff's Department and UCLA police:
Young people unhappy with the George Zimmerman verdict took their message of "Justice for Trayvon" Martin to the nouveau, filthy and otherwise rich of Beverly Hills.
After protesters occupied the private steps of the 2 Rodeo shopping center, a speaker on a bullhorn tried to afflict the comfortable dining al fresco nearby with this message in honor of Martin:
See our report from the protest: Trayvon Protesters to Beverly Hills: 'Put Your Champagne Glasses Down'
Given that L.A. has seen four nights of Trayvon Martin protests, with at least three of them involving some level of mayhem and unrest, it'll be interesting to see how the city of Beverly Hills deals with those angry over the acquittal of George Zimmerman.
A group called Justice for Trayvon Martin Los Angeles says it plans a "peaceful protest" over the case today at La Cienega Park, which is in the southeast corner of that gilded city, just a mile or so from traditionally African-American neighborhoods along Pico Boulevard:
If you're angry about justice, or lack thereof, it's probably not good to take a swing at the nearest cop.
It will only dig a deeper hole. And this week authorities say that's what happened for Trayvon Martin protester Brandon Bell, 24, who was charged with battery on a police officer, disobeying a cop's orders, and resisting arrest.
Today, Mayor Eric Garcetti called for Trayvon Martin demonstrators to "practice peace," with LAPD chief Charlie Beck and numerous African American leaders joining Garcetti at a press conference in South Los Angeles.
The mayor is hoping that street protests will calm in the coming days, but the Rev. Al Sharpton and other folks may have other plans for L.A.. On Saturday morning, Sharpton's civil rights group, the National Action Network, will hold a rally at the federal courthouse on Spring Street in downtown.
City officials continued to urge calm in the wake of a third night of protests and minor unrest following the George Zimmerman not guilty verdict in Florida.
Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck planned a 2 p.m. press conference regarding the demonstrations:
See our latest report, including arrest numbers: Trayvon Unrest Prompts Plea For Calm in L.A.
Bands of young people hit the streets for the third night in a row in Los Angeles in the name of "justice for Trayvon Martin," with a few committing vandalism and even apparently beating a victim next to an Arco gas station on Crenshaw Boulevard at Slauson Avenue.
LAPD Officer Cleon Joseph said he couldn't confirm reports of at least one arrest, but it was clear the department had its hands full on Crenshaw tonight:
Scores of people, police and, of course, Occupy L.A. hit downtown yesterday for the annual May Day marches and rallies. The streets were clogged with an estimated 10,000-plus people who were there to speak their minds on immigration reform, and -- wait! -- did that sign just say what we think it said?
Of course, it would just be an example of someone exercising their First Amendment rights. The phrase is not unknown to us, right? It has been used in various protests across the world at least since the N.W.A song made the phrase popular in 1988.
The Los Angeles chapter of No More Jails Coalition is taking it to the streets today, telling L.A. County supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky, Mark Ridley-Thomas, Gloria Molina, Don Knabe, and Mike Antonovich that the plan for embattled Sheriff Lee Baca to build a new women's jail is a crazy way to spend millions of tax dollars.
"We don't need these new jail cells, we don't want these new jail cells, we can't afford these new jail cells," says Mary Sutton of Critical Resistance, a member of the No More Jails coalition, in a press statement.
Sutton and other activists say the supervisors should instead spend money on programs such as drug treatment, housing, education, and job training. They're holding a mass protest in front of Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration in downtown today. But will the supervisors listen?