Shortly after 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Los Angeles 911 dispatchers were flooded with reports of a wild band of teens running into traffic, assaulting pedestrians, and looting. Now police, who suspect the ringleaders organized on Facebook and Twitter, are launching a full-scale social media investigation.
The 40 to 50 teenagers who stormed Hollywood caught the LAPD off guard as it was dealing with a downtown protest over the George Zimmerman verdict in Florida. Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering 17-year-old teen Trayvon Martin, a controversial decision that’s largely been scene as a confirmation of systemic racism in the United States.
“What we’re thinking is these youngsters took advantage of our redeployment of officers down to the Crenshaw District last night and decided this would be a good night to come up to Hollywood and act a little crazy,” LAPD commander Andy Smith told the Los Angeles Times.
One youth wrote on Twitter “Take the riot to Hollywood,” according to the Times.
More reports came in as the teens moved east through town. While many of the teens disbanded when police arrived, 12 were arrested.
The incident is under investigation, but police have uncovered tweets from before the Zimmerman verdict suggesting a riot was being planned in Hollywood.
Photo via KTLA TV