Sanford, FL: Jury ruled George Zimmerman “Not Guilty” in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
A jury in Sanford, Florida ruled George Zimmerman “Not Guilty” late Saturday night in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
The verdict from a jury was announced at 10:00pm ET and came after 2 days of deliberations.
The jury had the option of convicting George Zimmerman of second degree murder or of the lesser crime of manslaughter.
George Zimmerman was expressionless as the verdict was read then later turned to shake the hand of his lawyers well George Zimmerman’s Family held hands and cried.
According to Court Spokeswoman Michelle Kennedy, the jurors had no desire to speak to media and warned reporters that an order protecting their anonymity was still in effect.
According to Defense Attorney Don West, “I think the prosecution of George Zimmerman was disgraceful,”
Defense Attorney Don West also said, “As happy as I am for George Zimmerman, I’m thrilled that this jury kept this tragedy from becoming a travesty. For that, we are eternally grateful.”
Prosecutors said they were disappointed but accepted the decision.
According to Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda, the case boiled down to a matter of, “who was following who.”
Trayvon Martin’s Father Tracy Martin said he knew that his son was proud of the fight waged on his behalf.
Later, Trayvon Martin’s Father Tracy Martin tweeted on Twitter, “Even though I am broken hearted my faith is unshattered I WILL ALWAYS LOVE MY BABY TRAY.”
After the verdict was announced, supporters of Trayvon Martin and Trayvon Martin’s Family chanted, “The System Failed Us!” outside the courthouse in Sanford, Florida. A couple hundred people gathered turned out to protest the verdict and continued demonstrating into the early morning hours of Sunday.
Days before the verdict was announced, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Department and Trayvon Martin’s Family appealed to the community to remain calm and peaceful whatever the outcome might be.
Demonstrations also began in cities from Los Angeles, California to Washington, District of Columbia.
In Los Angeles, California; demonstrators gathered in Leimert Park. At least 200 people gathered for a peaceful vigil. Another group of demonstrators, between 50 to 100 people, started marching around 12:00am PT. According to Los Angeles Police Department Media Relations Department Lieutenant Andy Neiman, no arrests were made.
In Sacramento, California; more than 40 people gathered at Sacramento City Hall. Demonstrators chanted, “What do we want? Justice. When do you we want it? Now. For who? Trayvon” and demonstrators holding banners that say, “No justice, no peace!”
In San Francisco, California; over 200 people gathered in the Mission District and march down streets well San Francisco Police Department blokcked streets and escorted the demonstration. According to a San Francisco Police Department official, the demonstration was peaceful.
In Oakland, California; about 100 people demonstrated in the streets. Demonstrators chanted, “What do we want? Justice. When do you we want it? Now!” and demonstrators holding banners that say, “No justice,no peace!” But, some people broke from the mainly peaceful demonstration and began breaking windows of local businesse, set on fires to a United States of America flag in front of a McDonald fast food restaurant, and vandalized a Bay Area Rapid Transit Police Department vehicle. As the demonstration wound down, the demonstrators dispersing. According to a Oakland Police Department official, as of 2:00am PT, there was no reports of arrests.
In Denver, Colorado; civil rights and community leaders held a peaceful demonstration.
In Dallas, Texas; More than a dozen people peacefully protested at a rally in Downtown Dallas, Texas. People were seen helding signs saying, “No Justice, No Peace.”
In Chicago, Illinois; a crowd of people marched chanting “Justice for Trayvon!” Demonstrators moved down sidewalks and back to Daley Plaza well demonstrators took to a microphone to express their feelings. Demonstrators marched shouting, “No justice, no peace.” The demonstration was largely peaceful.
In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; a peaceful demonstration and vigil was held outside Philadelphia’s Municipal Services building. A handful of people attending a vigil overnight for Trayvon Martin in wake of the acquittal of George Zimmerman. The peaceful vigil went into the early Sunday morning hours. Philadelphia Police Department say that they had no reports of incidents overnight.
In Washington, District of Columbia; about 400 people marched for an hour and a half from U Street to Adams Morgan to Columbia Heights well picking up people along the way. Demonstrators chanted, “No Justice, No Peace,” and carried signs well some demonstrators gave speeches about changing racial inequality and the justice system in the United States. The demonstration began around 12:00am ET and continued into the early Sunday morning hours. The crowd of demonstrators included a large number of white men and women as well as African Americans. The demonstration and march remain peaceful and ended with a rally at a public plaza in Columbia Heights in Washington, District of Columbia. Demonstrators then chanted, “I will not walk on these streets in fear,” and “I’m not afraid.”
More protests and marches are plan in many cities across the nation on Sunday and in the next few days, weeks, and months to come.
Civil rights leaders, including the Reverend Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, urged for peace.
Reverend Jesse Jackson said that the legal system, “failed justice,” but violence isn’t the answer.
The NAACP wants the United States Department of Justice to prosecute George Zimmerman civil rights charges. Shortly after the verdict was announced, NAACP President Ben Jealous wrote a letter to United States Department of Justice and Attorney General Eric Holder saying, “We ask that the Department of Justice file civil rights charges against Mr. Zimmerman for this egregious violation. Please address the travesties of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin by acting today.”
According to George Zimmerman’s Defense Lawyer Mark O’Mara, the case had become a civil rights event and that George Zimmerman had been made a scapegoat.
About an hour after George Zimmerman was acquitted f second degree murder and manslaughter, George Zimmerman’s Defense Lawyer Mark O’Mara answering questions from the media on Saturday, “I think that things would have been different if George Zimmerman was black for this reason: He never would have been charged with a crime.”
On Sunday, February 26th, 2012 in Sanford, Florida, 17 year old Trayvon Martin, a male African American high school student, was returning from a convenience store after buying a bag of Skittles candy on a rainy Sunday night and was visiting family at the gated community in Sanford, Florida.
A then 27 year old George Zimmerman, a male multi-racial Hispanic American neighborhood watch coordinator, noticed Trayvon Martin, whom he did not recognize and was wearing a dark hooded shirt, walking in the gated community while in his vehicle.
Reportedly, there had been a rash of recent break-ins and George Zimmerman was wary of strangers walking through the gated community.
George Zimmerman called the Sanford Police Department to report Trayvon Martin’s behavior as suspicious.
George Zimmerman lost track of Trayvon Martin and while still on the phone with the police department dispatcher, George Zimmerman got out of his vehicle.
Soon after, George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin got into a struggle which ended with George Zimmerman fatally shooting Trayvon Martin, who was unarmed, in the chest with his handgun at close range.
When Sanford Police Department arrived on the scene, George Zimmerman told them that Trayvon Martin had attacked him and that he had shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense.
George Zimmerman was not charged for 44 days in which the case generated large protests in several cities across the nation and the globe with protesters wearing hooded sweatshirt like what Martin Trayvon wore as symbol of solidarity, launched debates across the nation over race, guns, self-defense, and Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, and even got the attention of the United States President Barack Obama saying, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
On Wednesday, April 11th, 2012, a special prosecutor who was appointed by the governor announced that George Zimmerman was being charged with second degree murder.
George Zimmerman pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
As the court trial, prosecutors argued the volunteer neighborhood watchman was a wannabe cop who “profiled” Trayvon Martin as the teen walked back from buying a bag of Skittles candy at a near by 7-Eleven store and then followed him against the advice of the police department dispatcher he called to report a suspicious person.
In closing arguments, Prosecutor John Guy said, “That child had every right to do what he was doing, walking home. That child had every right to be afraid of a strange man following him, first in his car and then on foot. And did that child not have the right to defend himself from that strange man?”
The George Zimmerman’s Defense Lawyer Mark O’Mara said that George Zimmerman was just doing his civic duty when he was ambushed by Trayvon Martin, punched in the face, and slammed repeatedly into concrete before he fired a single shot that pierced the teen’s heart.
“That’s cement. That is a sidewalk. And that is not an unarmed teenager with nothing but Skittles trying to get home,” said George Zimmerman’s Defense Lawyer Mark O’Mara.
George Zimmerman’s Defense Lawyer Mark O’Mara also said, “The suggestion by the state that that’s not a weapon, that that can’t hurt somebody, that that can’t cause great bodily injury … is disgusting.”
At least 56 witnesses took the stand during the court trial including Trayvon Martin’s parents and George Zimmerman’s parents who both disagreed over who was heard yelling for help in the background of a 911 call made by a resident during the fatal confrontation.
George Zimmerman did not testify, but his call to the non-emergency police line, his statements to investigators, and television interview were part of the evidence that the jurors could consider.
Also given to the jurors were pictures of both George Zimmerman’s injuries and Trayvon Martin’s body at the scene as well as at the morgue.
The jury began deliberations Friday, July 12th, 2013 and at 10:00pm ET on Saturday, July 13th, 2013, a verdict was announced ruling George Zimmerman “Not Guilty” in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
The verdict from the jury came after 2 days of deliberations.
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