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LAPD, Volunteer 'Peace Monitors' Patrol Crenshaw After Day Of Cleanup For Businesses

LOS ANGELES ( — As businesses clean up from protests Monday night, community activists in the Crenshaw District said Tuesday they will be out in force along with LAPD officers to monitor any more protests over the George Zimmerman verdict.

KNX 1070's Ed Mertz reports "peace monitors" will be deployed around Leimert Park starting Tuesday night.

Volunteer 'Peace Monitors' To Patrol Crenshaw After Protests

Community leaders marched up and down Crenshaw for about 20 minutes passing out flyers asking for peace and designating "peace monitors" starting at 8pm to also hand out yellow flyers encouraging people to go home.

Activists like Eddie Jones and others are urging residents to protest responsibly.

"We're standing our ground for peace in our community," Jones said. "We don't want you to tear up our Walmarts and our stores...our babies need milk and food."

The call came after 150 protesters left a prayer vigil and marched up Crenshaw on Monday, causing damage to several fast food restaurants and other local establishments, and even assaulting CBS2 reporter Dave Bryan and his camera crew.

"We're not going to see a repeat of what we saw last night," said Earl Ofari Hutchinson of the Urban Policy Roundtable. "That would dishonor, that would disrespect, and that would defame the memory of Trayvon Martin."

Businesses damaged by the protesters were cleaning up Tuesday.

"If they're trying to send a message that's the wrong way of doing it," said Paul Glover, who was at work fixing the window of a convenience store on Crenshaw Blvd. A video captured by CBS2 showed a group of protesters kicking in the store's window before facing a police skirmish line.

Several cars were also vandalized, and a nearby Jack in the Box restaurant suffered substantial damage.

"It sends a message around the world that south central L.A. are a bunch of hot-headed individuals," said Leimert Park resident Kevin Jenkins. "And that's incorrect."

While a majority of people in the Crenshaw community are angry about the verdict, a small fraction believes that violence is the answer.

"I could pray. I could make demands in writing," said Crenshaw District resident Colby Smith. "But if there's no threat, they're not going to respond."

Councilman Bernard Parks, who represents the Crenshaw District, said the destruction of neighborhood businesses causes financial damage to a community that hasn't fully recovered from the Watts riots and the Civil Unrest of 1992.

"We certainly don't have an abundance of businesses in our community," Councilman Parks said. "That would then send a message, two things: don't do business in South Los Angeles, or that the insurance rate will go up so that you can't survive in South Los Angeles."

Some businesses have hired extra security guards, and LAPD says residents can expect a stronger police presence Tuesday evening.

"It really hurts," said a business owner who identified himself as 'Que'. "They're tearing up the community that they're going to turn around and come back and need us."

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