This is getting out of hand, and it’s long past time for President Obama to find his voice and speak out against it. There were more riots in Los Angeles on Monday, featuring “multiple acts of vandalism and several assaults,” which LAPD chief Charlie Beck delicately chose not to discuss at length when announcing 13 arrests. The Associated Press reports on the latest antics of these “mostly peaceful” protesters:
Protesters ran through Los Angeles streets, stopping traffic, breaking windows and at one point raiding a Wal-Mart store, and a major freeway was blocked in the San Francisco Bay Area in the third night of protests in California over George Zimmerman’s Florida acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
Several hundred mostly peaceful protesters gathered Monday night at Leimert Park southwest of downtown Los Angeles, many of them chanting, praying and singing.
But a smaller group of about 100 people splintered off and began blocking traffic on nearby Crenshaw Boulevard, some of them jumping on cars and breaking windows.
At about 10 p.m., a few hours after the splinter protest began, police declared the group an unlawful assembly, and many in the crowd began to disperse.
Several protesters ran into a Wal-Mart store, where they knocked down displays before store security chased them out, and police began guarding the door.
TV news helicopters showed some people apparently throwing punches along the street. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
The AP is comically underselling the extent of the violence and vandalism. According to the L.A. Times, the rioters “stomped on cars, broke windows, set fires and attacked several people.” A reporter for KCBS-TV and his camerman were attacked; one of them ended up in the hospital with a possible concussion. A restaurant waiter was struck in the head with a hammer. The Wal-Mart looters were trying to bust open the jewelry cases when the cops showed up. Hunks of concrete were thrown at police officers.
Other demonstrators managed to completely shut down Interstate 880. The police ineffectually yelled at them to disperse, but decided to indulge them by not making any arrests. The Houston Chronicle reports that State Road 288 in Houston was also shut down by demonstrators for about 15 minutes. ”No police were seen,” adds the Chronicle. “The crowds allowed an ambulance to pass, but other motorists were forced to wait.” Who needs law and order when you’ve got an angry mob ready and willing to direct traffic?