Outraged NAACP Wants Feds to Prosecute George Zimmerman
(SANFORD, Fla.) -- The NAACP was "outraged" over the not-guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial and called on the Department of Justice to prosecute Zimmerman for shooting Trayvon Martin.
"We are outraged and heartbroken over [Saturday’s] verdict," NAACP President Benjamin Jealous said in a statement.
"We will pursue civil rights charges with the Department of Justice, we will continue to fight for the removal of Stand Your Ground laws in every state, and we will not rest until racial profiling in all its forms is outlawed," Jealous said.
A civil rights probe had previously been opened by the Department of Justice and a spokeswoman said the department would continue to "evaluate the evidence generated during the federal investigation, as well as the evidence and testimony from the state trial."
Zimmerman shot and killed Martin in Sanford, Fla. on Feb. 26, 2012. Zimmerman, 29, maintains he shot Martin, 17, in self-defense, while the state argued that Zimmerman "profiled" Martin and concluded he was a criminal.
The case took on racial overtones after police declined to charge Zimmerman, who is white and Hispanic. Martin was black.
Police in Florida had braced for the verdict, but there was no outburst of violence.
Sanford Police Department Investigator Ronny Neal said it was "very quiet."
"We have people patrolling right now, nothing different than usual. Nothing out of the ordinary," he said. In Miami and other south Florida cities, police created places for people to peacefully protest, monitoring social media and urging people to remain calm.
Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the Martin family, acknowledged the disappointment of Trayvon Martin's supporters, but he urged them not to resort to violence.
"For Trayvon to rest in peace, we must all be peaceful," Crump said.
Hundreds of demonstrators wiped away tears and expressed disbelief outside of the Seminole County Courthouse in Sanford after the jury's verdict was read Saturday night.
A woman named Barbara told ABC News she had traveled from Georgia to be outside the courthouse for the verdict.
"I just thought we were going to get some kind of justice," she said, calling it a "cruel system."
Martin's parents were not in the courtroom when the verdict was read, however his father, Tracy Martin, tweeted after that he was "brokenhearted."
"Even though I am broken hearted my faith is unshattered I WILL ALWAYS LOVE MY BABY TRAY," Martin wrote.
"Thanks to everyone who are with us and who will be with us so we together can make sure that this doesn't happen again," he said.
Rev. Jesse Jackson tweeted that the "American legal system has once again failed justice," but urged his followers to "avoid violence."
"We are saddened and disappointed by this decision. It is a pattern involving young black men that is too often repeating itself," Jackson wrote.
"Avoid violence, it will lead to more tragedies," he wrote. "Find a way for self construction not deconstruction in this time of despair."
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