More: Martin was talking on cellphone with his girlfriend (Associated Press)
More: Death threats, Zimmerman in hiding (Associated Press)
More: Medical report shows broken nose, two black eyes (Associated Press / State Attorney’s Office)
More: Zimmerman called police on night of shooting, was told to stay away (AFP / Getty Images)
More: “I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin¿s death as George Zimmerman was” (Associated Press / State Attorney’s Office)
More: Zimmerman accused of misrepresenting his finances, having second passport (Joshua C. Cruey / Associated Press)
More:“When I think about this boy I think about my own kids” (Haraz N. Ghanbari / Associated Press)
More: Trial to begin in Trayvon Martin case (Joe Burbank / Pool Photo)
More: Judge declines stay; case to proceed in June (Joe Burbank / Associated Press)
More: Judge says no, I won’t disqualify myself (Red Huber / Orlando Sentinel / Associated Press)
More: A scathing order from judge in Trayvon Martin case (Roberto Gonzalez / Getty Images)
More: Surprise witness: Authorities do not know who started the fight (Gary W. Green / Associated Press)
More: Demanding George Zimmerman be arrested (Roberto Gonzalez / Getty Images)
More: Rep. Rush received a reprimand for violating rules on wearing hats in the House chamber (Associated Press / House Television)
More: Police chief gets a vote of no confidence after killing (Mario Tama / Getty Images)
It was hard to watch Monday night’s peaceful demonstration in Los Angeles against the George Zimmerman verdict turn violent in the hands of rogue protesters.
The anger is understandable. Zimmerman was let off the hook despite having killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager whose only offense seems to have been walking while black. But the violence is counterproductive.
Storming a Wal-Mart, setting fires, stomping on cars and breaking windows in South L.A. caught people’s attention, but it didn’t raise awareness for addressing the American justice system or racial inequality. What it did was create distraction and chaos.
Condemning the violence, county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas reminded his district that taking a violent stance “does not advance the cause of Trayvon Martin or his memory.” And Mayor Eric Garcetti reminded protesters of something I’m sure Martin’s parents would appreciate, which is that “people also deserve to be safe on the streets and in their cars.”
The tasks ahead of us -- fighting for gun reform, changing unfair laws that institutionalize racism -- require focus. Activists need to, as New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow writes, look at the many ways the whole system failed Trayvon Martin and take meaningful action so that future generations of black youths don’t have to live in fear.
So that they won’t, as USA Today contributor David Person writes, have to navigate a justice system or society that sees “our boys as disposable and dispensable.”
Follow Alexandra Le Tellier on Twitter @alexletellier