Oakland protest of George Zimmerman verdict

Oakland police extinguish a fire after protesters became destructive in the wake of the verdict in George Zimmerman's trial. (Anda Chu / Oakland Tribune / July 14, 2013)

Protests in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman turned destructive in the Bay Area Saturday night.

People marching through Oakland broke windows, spray painted cars and buildings and attempted to start fires, according to The Oakland Tribune. Footage from television helicopters caught demonstrators vandalizing a police squad car, the newspaper reported.

One BART police car reportedly was spray painted and had its windows smashed.
Demonstrations against the verdict were taking place across the country Saturday night.

Zimmerman's shooting of an unarmed black teenager in a confrontation in Florida last year touched off a national debate about race and guns.

The jury of six women returned the verdict Saturday evening after more than 16 hours of deliberation over two days. Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder, but the jury had the option of finding him guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

In Los Angeles, demonstrators gathered in Leimert Park. There have been no reports of protests getting out of hand. The LAPD went on a tactical alert Saturday night to keep officers on duty.

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Twitter: RobertFaturechi

robert.faturechi@latimes.com