All CATEGORIES
☰ Menu


Rallies large and small follow Zimmerman verdict

By Verena Dobnik
Associated Press

Print
Add This

NEW YORK: With chants and prayers, sermons and signs, outrage over a jury’s decision to clear George Zimmerman in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager poured from street protests and church pulpits Sunday amid calls for federal civil rights charges to be filed in the case.

Demonstrations large and small broke out across the country — ranging from a few dozen to several hundred — in support of the family of Trayvon Martin as protesters decried the not guilty verdict as a miscarriage of justice.

The NAACP and protesters called for federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman, who was acquitted Saturday in Martin’s February 2012 shooting death, which unleashed a national debate over racial profiling, self-defense and equal justice.

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

At Manhattan’s Middle Collegiate Church, many congregants wore hooded sweatshirts — the same thing Martin was wearing the night he was shot. 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.

The Rev. Jacqueline Lewis, wearing a pink hoodie, urged a peaceful but vocal response.

“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.”

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.

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.

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

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

Hours after the verdict Saturday night, 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 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 Oakland, Calif., some angry demonstrators broke windows and burned U.S. flags. Some marchers also vandalized a police squad car.


Print
Add This


MORE IN NEWS MORE IN NEWS >
EDITORS' PICKS

OHIO.COM VIDEOS

Most Read Stories