The chairman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors called on U.S. Atty. Gen.
Zimmerman was acquitted in Florida criminal court this weekend in the shooting death of Martin, an unarmed black teenager, and protesters have taken to the streets in Los Angeles every day since.
“Federal civil rights statutes allow for the criminal prosecution of ordinary citizens when racial motivation results in bodily injury,” Supervisor
Ridley-Thomas said he felt compelled to act.
"There is a substantial amount of unfinished business in the matter of the death of Trayvon Martin, and my read of this is that communities across the nation feel similarly," he said.
The supervisor, who was a junior high student during the 1965 Watts unrest and a city councilman during the 1992
"I think it's rather clear that the [current] response of the Police Department is substantially different and it goes to the quality of leadership in the department. The previous chiefs were more lightning rods," he said. "I think Chief Beck has distinguished himself as an enlightened law enforcement officer who understands the balance that needs to be brought to bear to sensitive issues and is very, very diligent about constitutional policing. And that has made all the difference."
He said he did not know whether the protests were ebbing, but said upcoming Days of Dialogue, where residents from throughout the community speak in small groups facilitated by mediators, would be an important vehicle for people to channel their frustrations.