Twenty Arrested in|L.A. Zimmerman Protests

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – State prosecutors criminally charged a man Tuesday for an alleged attack on a Los Angeles Police Department officer during Sunday protests of George Zimmerman’s acquittal for the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.
     The verdict in South Florida ignited protests across the country. Though demonstrations in Los Angeles have been largely peaceful, 150 young protesters split off in the Crenshaw District of South Los Angeles, and ran riot through the streets, vandalizing businesses and attacking bystanders.
     Thirteen people were arrested, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday, after hundreds of officers in riot gear responded to demonstrations that continued without incident into Tuesday night.
     Twenty people have been arrested in Los Angeles during the protests, according to the L.A. Times.
     One of them, Brandon Bell, 24, of Los Angeles, is charged with punching an LAPD officer, after police on Sunday formed a line to break up a demonstration in the Mid-City area of Central Los Angeles.
     City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a statement that protesters ignored an order to leave the area, and instead advanced towards the police.
     “When the defendant came within arms distance of one of the officers, he allegedly clenched his fist and punched him in the chest, ripping the name tag and pin from his uniform and driving him back off the line,” the City Attorney’s Office said in the statement.
     Bell “started yelling at officers in an attempt to further incite the crowd” after protesters had pelted officers with rocks, batteries and water bottles, the city attorney said.
     Bell was charged with battery on a police officer, disobeying the orders of a police officer, and resisting arrest.
     If convicted, he could face up to two years in jail.
     Bell is scheduled for a pretrial hearing on July 30, at East Los Angeles Superior Court.
     Zimmerman was acquitted late Saturday night by a six-woman jury. He could still face a civil lawsuit from Martin’s family, which is considered likely, and/or federal prosecution on civil rights charges, which is considered unlikely.

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