George Zimmerman

Rallies, marches follow Zimmerman verdict

Oakland-Calif-Protesters-July-14-2013-PhotoAP-Bay-Area-News-Group-Anda-ChuNEW YORK (AP) – Thousands of demonstrators from across the country – chanting, praying and even fighting tears – protested a jury’s decision to clear neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager while the Justice Department considered whether to file criminal civil rights charges.

Rallies on Sunday were largely peaceful as demonstrators voiced their support for 17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s family and decried Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict as a miscarriage of justice. Police in Los Angeles said they arrested six people, mostly for failure to disperse, after about 80 protesters gathered in Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard and an unlawful assembly was declared. The New York Police Department said it arrested at least a dozen people on disorderly conduct charges during a rally in Times Square.

The NAACP and protesters called for federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman, who was acquitted Saturday in Martin’s February 2012 shooting death.

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. The department opened an investigation into Martin’s death last year but stepped aside to allow the state prosecution to proceed.

The evidence generated during the federal probe is still being evaluated by the criminal section of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office for the Middle District of Florida, along with evidence and testimony from the state trial, the Justice Department said.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama and religious and civil rights leaders urged calm in hopes of ensuring peaceful demonstrations following a case that became an emotional flash point.

Sunday’s demonstrations, held in cities from Florida to Wisconsin, attracted anywhere from a few dozen people to a more than a thousand.

At a march and rally in downtown Chicago attended by about 200 people, some said 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.

“Fifty-eight years and nothing’s changed,” Miller said, pausing to join a chant for “Justice for Trayvon, not one more.”

In New York City, more than a thousand people marched into Times Square on Sunday night, zigzagging through Manhattan’s streets to avoid police lines. Sign-carrying marchers thronged the busy intersection, chanting “Justice for! Trayvon Martin!” as they made their way from Union Square, blocking traffic for more than an hour before moving on.

In San Francisco and Los Angeles, where an earlier protest was dispersed with beanbag rounds, police closed streets as protesters marched Sunday to condemn Zimmerman’s acquittal.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti urged protesters to “practice peace” after the rock- and bottle-throwing incident. Later, more than 100 officers in riot gear converged on the crowd and ordered people to disperse. A handful of people were given citations, mostly for blocking a street or jaywalking

Rand Powdrill, 41, of San Leandro, Calif., said he came to the San Francisco march with about 400 others to “protest the execution of an innocent black teenager.”

“If our voices can’t be heard, then this is just going to keep going on,” he said.

Earlier, at Manhattan’s Middle Collegiate Church, many congregants wore hooded sweatshirts – similar to the one Martin was wearing the night he was shot – in a show of solidarity. Hoodie-clad Jessica Nacinovich said she could only feel disappointment and sadness over the verdict.

“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,” she said.

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.

Protesters also gathered in Atlanta, Miami, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., along with a host of other cities.

In Miami, more than 200 people gathered for a vigil. “You can’t justify murder,” read one poster. Another read “Don’t worry about more riots. Worry about more Zimmermans.”

Carol Reitner, 76, of Miami, said she heard about the vigil through an announcement at her church Sunday morning. “I was really devastated. It’s really hard to believe that someone can take the life of someone else and walk out of court free,” she said.

In Philadelphia, about 700 protesters marched from LOVE Park to the Liberty Bell, alternating between chanting Trayvon Martin’s name and “No justice, no peace!”

“We hope this will begin a movement to end discrimination against young black men,” said Johnathan Cooper, one of the protest’s organizers. “And also to empower black people and get them involved in the system.”

In Atlanta, a crowd of about 75 protesters chanted and carried signs near Centennial Olympic Park.

“I came out today because a great deal of injustice has been done and I’m very disappointed at our justice system; I’m just disappointed in America,” said Tabatha Holley, 19, of Atlanta.

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 immediately after the verdict.

In Oakland, Calif., during protests that began late Saturday night, some angry demonstrators broke windows, burned U.S. flags and started street fires. Some marchers also vandalized a police squad car and used spray paint to scrawl anti-police graffiti on roads and Alameda County’s Davidson courthouse.


Associated Press reporters Suzette Laboy in Miami, Terence Chea in San Francisco, Keith Collins in Philadelphia, Pete Yost and Eric Tucker in Washington and Luisa Leme contributed to this report.

Source: AP

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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Lisa says:

I can understand the frustration of the protesters. They feel there is no justice. Myself, I cannot believe Zimmerman went free. I’m shocked. To me it’s wrong. That being said, most protesters are probably peaceful and it’s just a handful of thugs causing trouble. These thugs probably don’t even care about the verdict one way or another, they just see it as an opportunity to loot.

Kan says:

I know why America is going down the hills, cuz majority their people can’t get along. They spend time fighting and killing each other rather than going to work. Why don’t you guys join the Egyptians so that you can protest all nights and days long.

JG3K9 says:

The real issue here is that people are tired of crime and criminals and will do whatever they have to in order to take a stand. People are fed up with punks and thugs of any color trying to get for free what the law-abiding, tax-paying citizens have to work so hard to attain. As a result, It is driving people to protect themselves to whatever extent possible: carrying concealed weapons, starting neighborhood watch groups, stock-piling weapons and ammo in their homes. The crime is raising the tension levels all-around.

TM made some bad decisions that night. He may not have wanted to kill anyone but he wanted to try out his MMA fight techniques on the wrong guy. I certainly feel sad for TM and his family. There are things I did as a teenager that I look back on and realize they were reckless and could have gotten me killed. TM wasn’t so lucky. He was showing off and his reckless behavior got him killed.

DJ says:

The verdict is not guilty. Get over it. We all live under the law. If you think the law is wrong, go live somewhere else. Seems like those idiots just love to do this kind of stuff when things didn’t go there way. They should focus on going to work like every hard working citizens rather than being darn lazy, creating the violence and take the advantages of the people who’ve been working hard, but have to share what they earned to these idiots.

Go get a job, don’t stay in the welfare and food stamps for the rest of your natural life. These people more like the monkeys on the hard working citizens’backs. They deserved to live in the countries where the military controls everything. I can guarantee, before they start to open their trashy mouths, their heads will be blown up in no time!

I’m so sick and tired to work hard just to share with these so called themselves minority to live comfortable, but myself and family suffered. These free riders never seemed to satisfied, they always put the blame on the other people no matter what. Forget about the past, let it go. Why always mention about slavery thing which was long gone. All they really need to do is to live and behave like a normal human being!!!!

Dj says:

Is this photo for real……………..? Where did that guy get that shiny new trashcan from the fifties to throw at a window in front of the associated press?…. And THOSE SHOES……….who wears those? I smell agent provocateur

candy says:

the jurors made a fair decision…. i hate the fact that people cannot deal with it. the people who now resort to violence and make threats against zimmerman just proves the point. most of them didn’t even follow the whole trial but saw bits of it on tv…

Maria says:

There is something wrong with a legal system when an adult armed man initiates a chain of events that lead to him killing an unarmed teen with impunity.

Patricia Nelson says:

More violence is not the answer.

Patricia Nelson says:

He will have to be in hiding, just like Anthony for the rest of his life.

LoveBunny says:

It will be a next to impossible battle to prove that GZ was “racist” especially since it could not be proven that he harbored malice/hatred.

TM called GZ a “creepy *** crac*er” so it could even be argued that TM was a “racial profiler”.

This isn’t clear cut and compelling like the Rodney King case where there were a bunch of clearly racist cops beating up an AA man.

Not every trial ends with a verdict that the public would like to have. Just look at the Casey Anthony case! Nobody was happy with that either–and of course, it all went down in Florida where there seems to be something in the water.

Omamoa says:

Those that have sought and still seek to use the death of Trayvon Martin as the race card are appallingly ignorant and racists themselves. There was not a case here to prosecute and the only reason it went this far was to appease racist voices seeking to further divide America. Can you imagine how those same voices would object if, on a daily basis, people of color were dragged to trial for killing a white person in self defense? It is sad anytime a human being loses his/her life needlessly. But the facts of this case absolutely proved beyond a reasonable doubt that George Zimmerman was defending his own life against a young man spoiling for a fight, a fight which unfortunately led to his own death.

Lee says:

I believe anyone who has no sympathy that a young mans life was taken honestly from the thoughts of another is IGNORANT! Doesn’t really matter the color! But lets be.honest he was criminally profiled because of his clothing and his color, but really he has the right to walk wherever he wants in peace! Its so sad that people dont envoke common sense, really?

Lisa814 says:

Very well said. It is sad that the black community keeps perpetuating racism. They are the ones that will not let go. I wonder if GZ and TM were both black if they would still be protesting? Or if GZ were black? I feel for the family of TM as losing a child is the hardest loss of all. I watched every minute of the trial live and I would have come up with the same verdict. There just wasn’t evidence to prove anything other than self-defense in this case.

dwayne says:

Here is a Incident where cops Beated an African-American and were found not guilty In a Criminal Court which was taken to Federal Court. This is what the NAACP & Rev Jackson and Some other Are talking about filing to The Federal Court.

Here is the Incident that happend where cops were found not Guilty in a Criminal Court but When it was Taken to Federal Court they were found Guilty and Sentenced

The Justice Department did not respond directly to the NAACP demand yet. It has a separate federal investigation going on.

It’s a legal path that worked in the case of Rodney King, whom Los Angeles police officers clubbed down in 1991 after a car chase.

The beating of the African-American man was caught on video and later aired on news broadcasts.

When a criminal court failed to convict the white officers of police brutality, riots ensued in Los Angeles over alleged racial discrimination.

The Justice Department filed a civil rights suit against the officers, alleging racial profiling, and two were convicted in 1993 as a result.

A court sentenced them to 30 months in federal prison.

LoveBunny says:

Resorting to violence is just WRONG. . . If there are protests, that’s fine. People have every right to do that, but everyone should respect the law while they are protesting! Otherwise, it just muddies Travon Martin’s memory.


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