Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.) released the following statement on the latest developments in Los Angeles after the Zimmerman verdict and local arrests related to demonstrations across the city.
The Congresswoman also announced that she will be conducting a community telephone town hall with constituents tonight at 7pm PST/10am EST to discuss the latest developments.
Congresswoman Bass stated:
"Thirteen young people were arrested and went to jail last night. The last thing our community needs is for more of our young people to be incarcerated and for righteous protest to turn violent. Hundreds of people turned out last night in Leimert Park for a peaceful expression of grief and outrage at the unjust verdict, but only a few resorted to vandalism.
"Many of the young people arrested last night were not born during the 1992 civil unrest and might not be aware that we still have vacant lots from the destruction that took place 21 years ago. Our community needs to continue to rebuild not be torn down.
"Residents should not be surprised if there is an increased police presence over the next few days. However, more officers will not deteriorate into an occupying force but WILL ensure that residents who want to demonstrate peacefully and constructively can do so without destruction to the community.
"As LAPD officials step up their efforts in the coming days, so must residents in doing our part to make sure our city is not torn apart again by violence
"Although I am in Washington DC I am in constant communication with community leaders, Assistant Chief Paysinger and elected officials including Mayor Garcetti.
"As a community we need to take our anger and grief and channel it into working for change, repealing stand your ground laws, fighting for gun safety legislation, criminal justice reforms, and supporting community organizations who work every day to improve the quality of life in our community. Violence doesn't serve any of these interests and do nothing to honor the memory of Trayvon Martin and support his family during this difficult time."