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Trayvon Martin case sees local rally, reaction

March 22, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Thousands of protesters hit the streets in Sanford, Fla., Thursday night upset with the way authorities there have handled the Trayvon Martin shooting case. But the demonstrations were not limited to the east coast. In Los Angeles, several hundred people also protested in Leimert Park Thursday night demanding Martin's shooter be arrested.

"That's a young age to be gunned down like that senselessly," said protester Carol Johnson. "It needs to stop."

Martin, 17, was shot to death while walking in a gated community. George Zimmerman, 28, was the neighborhood watchman and is accused of pulling the trigger. Prior to the shooting, Zimmerman called 911 to report a suspicious character.

Zimmerman has admitted to shooting the unarmed teen, but has claimed it was self-defense. The investigation that followed has been called into question. Sanford Police never interviewed key witnesses, like Martin's girlfriend, who was on the phone with him before he was shot. Police also never tested Zimmerman for drugs or alcohol after he claimed self-defense. Perhaps the biggest hitch in the investigation is that police do not know where Zimmerman is at this point in time.

Amid the national outcry, Sanford's Police Chief Bill Lee temporarily stepped down from his post Thursday.

"I do this in the hopes of restoring some sort of semblance of calm to the city, which has been in turmoil for several weeks," he said.

But that hasn't been enough to stop the protests. Demands for an arrest echoed through Leimert Park on Thursday.

"We are in California and this happened in Florida. We are so far, yet so close, and we are just saying we want some justice," said Yo Yo, a protester.