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Trayvon Martin: Hundreds attend L.A. rally for slain Florida teen

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in a Los Angeles park Thursday night to rally for justice in the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.

Another rally is planned for Saturday at Hollywood and Highland from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., KTLA-TV reported.

The 17-year-old was shot to death on Feb. 26 while walking to his house in Sanford, Fla., after a trip to the convenience store. Police say a neighborhood watch leader, George Zimmerman, chased and shot the unarmed teen because he thought he looked suspicious.

Zimmerman, who claims he shot Martin in self-defense, has not been arrested.

The uproar over Martin's death has reverberated nationwide with demands for Zimmerman's arrest and scrutiny of police actions. An estimated 8,000 people gathered at Fort Mellon Park in Sanford on Thursday night to hear the Rev. Al Sharpton give an impassioned speech.

"Twenty-six days ago, this young man Trayvon Martin ... went to the store for his brother. He came back and lost his life," Sharpton told the cheering crowd. "Trayvon represents a reckless disregard for our lives."

Just as the Florida rally was getting underway, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Atty. Gen. Pam Bondi announced the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Martin's shooting death.

Just hours earlier, Sanford police Chief Bill Lee Jr. announced he was stepping down from his post "temporarily."

Police say they have not charged Zimmerman because they have no evidence to contradict his story that he shot in self-defense. The shooting has renewed a debate over a controversial state law and sparked calls for a review.

Florida's deadly force law, also called "stand your ground," allows people to meet "force with force" if they believe there is danger of serious harm to themselves or someone else.

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-- KTLA-TV

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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