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Zimmerman’s acquittal spurs demonstrations across the US

Published: Mon, July 15, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.


Jebiah Jones, 3, holds a sign as her mother, Keiota Jones, stands behind her during a protest Sunday in Atlanta over the verdict in Florida.

Associated Press


From New York to California, outrage over the acquittal in George Zimmerman’s murder trial poured from street demonstrations and church pulpits Sunday as protesters called for justice for the unarmed youth he killed and demanded federal civil rights charges against him.

Protests were scheduled in Boston, Detroit, Baltimore, San Francisco and other cities over the Florida case, which unleashed a national debate over racial profiling, self-defense and equal justice. One protest in California hours after the verdict late Saturday ended with vandalism while police dispersed another crowd by firing beanbag rounds.

In Washington, the Justice Department said it is looking into the case to determine whether federal prosecutors should file criminal civil rights charges now that Zimmerman has been acquitted in the state case.

In a statement Sunday, the Justice Department said the criminal section of its civil rights division, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Middle District of Florida are evaluating evidence.

President Barack Obama called the death of Trayvon Martin a tragedy for the country and urged calm reflection, a message shared by religious and civil rights leaders hoping to ensure peaceful demonstrations in the wake of a case that became an emotional flash point.

In Manhattan, congregants at Middle Collegiate Church were encouraged to wear hooded sweatshirts in the memory of Martin, the black teenager who was wearing a hoodie the night he was shot to death in February 2012.

The Rev. Jacqueline Lewis, wearing a pink hoodie, urged peace and told her congregation that Martin Luther King Jr. “would have wanted us to conduct ourselves on the highest plane of dignity.”

But “we’re going to raise our voices against the root causes of this kind of tragedy,” she said, adding, “We’ll aim our fight for justice against the ease with which people can get firearms in this country.”

Congregant Jessica Nacinovich, wearing a hoodie, said she could only feel disappointment and sadness over the verdict.

“I just wanted to come and be here with everybody in solidarity and talk and pray and sing about where we go from here,” she said. “I’m sure jurors did what they felt was right in accordance with the law but maybe the law is wrong, maybe society is wrong; there’s a lot that needs fixing.”

At a youth service in Sanford, Fla., where the trial was held, teens wearing shirts displaying Martin’s picture wiped away tears during a sermon at the St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church.

Hours after the verdict, demonstrators gathered on U Street in Washington, D.C., chanting, “No justice, no peace.” One protester carried a sign that read, “Stop criminalizing black men.”

In Florida, about 200 demonstrators marched through downtown Tallahassee carrying signs that said “Racism is Not Dead” and “Who’s Next?”

In Chicago, black clergy members called for calm, with the Rev. Ira Acree of Greater St. John Bible Church saying the community should become “a united voice for peace” because it can’t control the verdict but it “can control our streets and communities.”

About 200 people turned out for a rally and march in downtown Chicago, saying the verdict was symbolic of lingering racism in the United States.

Seventy-three-year-old Maya Miller said the case reminded her of the 1955 slaying of Emmitt Till, a 14-year-old from Chicago who was murdered by a group of white men while visiting Mississippi. Till’s killing galvanized the civil rights movement.

Miller said she felt as if “nothing has changed in 58 years.”

The NAACP called for the opening of a civil rights case against Zimmerman in an online petition addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder.

Civil rights leaders, including the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, urged peace in the wake of the verdict. Jackson said the legal system “failed justice,” but violence isn’t the answer.

But not all the protesters heeded those calls.

In Oakland, Calif., some angry demonstrators broke windows, burned U.S. flags and started street fires.


1redvert(2115 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

And how many blacks killed other blacks in Chicago since this trial started? Why are no black leaders, Jesse and Al in particular not making a big deal about that, simple, they can't make it a race issue and there is no money in it!

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2dmacker(354 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

I watched this trial from beginning to end. I too was curious as to what actually had happened. There was just so much information in the news coverage and it ranged from allegations of murder to self defense and everywhere in between.
In the end the case boiled down to a struggle between two people, one injured and one not.
And the injured claiming he shot in self defense. Though the information put before the jury showed a 17 year old child returning from the store with skittles and an ice tea, other information not before the jury showed a troubled inner city teen. He had a history of drug use and had been suspended from school for hitting a teacher and on another occasion for possessing burglary tools and 11 pieces of jewelry in his back pack along with a baggie with drug residue. He was wandering around on a dark rainy night in an area where frequent burglaries had occurred. A walk home from the store that should have taken less than 10 minutes took him 44 minutes before the deadly encounter. Even though the jury had no information about Martin's past they still found Zimmerman acted in self defense when physically attacked by Martin. I can't see how anyone who watched the trial and all of the evidence presented could come to any other conclusion. Those now protesting the verdict can't possibly have had the information the jury had before it. Zimmerman is as hispanic as Obama is black and those who have claimed racial bias in this verdict are misinformed.

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3redeye1(4870 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

dmacker The ones who are protesting are same clueless one who also voted for OBAMMY! All they see is the color of someone's skin. If he had been shot by another black person this would never had made the national news. But since a( white )Hispanic defended himself against this thug , the defendant is wrong. But when OJ killed two white people and was found not guilty these same people were dancing in the streets. Go figure !! If they don't get their way they are mad. maybe its time we take away al of the FREE things that white people give them and make them try to survive on their own for once

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