LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Protesters confronted police in front of the Los Angeles Police Department's Newton Station two days after a bomb squad truck exploded in a South Los Angeles neighborhood during a botched detonation of illegal fireworks seized from a nearby home.
"We have to make it clear: South Central was bombed by the Los Angeles Police Department," Alfredo Gama, president of the Central Alameda Neighborhood Council, said during the Friday night demonstration. "We want to know, who made that call."
The protesters demanded to know whether LAPD would have made the same call to detonate homemade fireworks already deemed unstable in a more affluent neighborhood.
"Would they have made that call if we were in Santa Monica," Gama said.
Martha Sanchez, a marriage and family therapist, is on the South Central Neighborhood Council. She said the blast shook her home while she was in the middle of a therapy session.
"I'm so, so mad. So disgusted," she said. "And I was screaming in front of my patient, because I was terrorized."
The residents said they wanted criminal charges filed against LAPD and for 20% of the department's budget immediately directed to the victims.
""Our house was destroyed, and there's some valuable things inside that's hard to recover," Jovana Martinez, a victim, said. "It's going to take a while to get that back."
So far, her family has been forced to stay at two different evacuations since their home is unlivable, a reality made even more difficult since her brother has autism and her father is awaiting surgery. After the surgery, he will need a permanent place to recover.
"They didn't ask for this," one activist said.
Earlier on Friday, 45 agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives descended on the neighborhood to process the roughly three-block debris field. LAPD asked the public to be patient as the investigation continued.
"The criminals, as they call them, were keeping it safer than they were," Gama said.
LAPD was escorting some residents back into their homes late Friday night to let them collect necessary
for more features.