Why protests get violent: an interview with race scholar Laura Pulido

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LA commentator Jasmyne Cannick tweeted this photo as protesters walked on the 10 Freeway on Sunday, July 14.

Community organizers and leaders of protest groups are calling for peace during demonstrations that continue to take place in Los Angeles in the wake of last weekend’s George Zimmerman verdict. Zimmerman was acquitted of manslaughter and murder charges in the shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.

L.A. police say they will crack down on any protests that become violent or chaotic. Last night, a handful of protestors – out of hundreds who took to the streets in the city’s Crenshaw District, and in Leimert Park – broke off from peaceful demonstrations and became belligerent and unruly.

Rogue protesters did some damage to the Wal-Mart store at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza and a window was smashed at a Jack in the Box restaurant. Fourteen people were arrested.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told the city Police Commission today that the department has tried to be accommodating to free expression but a firm line will be drawn and criminal activity won’t be tolerated. And South Los Angeles leaders have enlisted volunteer monitors to help prevent raucous behavior.

KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis talks to Laura Pulido, professor of American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California.