Demonstrators react after hearing the verdict of not guilty in the trial of George Zimmerman at the Seminole County Courthouse, Saturday, July 13, 2013, in Sanford, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Brown)
by Herb Boyd and Amity Paye
(NNPA)–“How to get away with murder in America – Step 1 – Carry a weapon at all times, Step 2 – Use it to shoot a Black male after you stalk them; Step 3 – Always claim self defense; Step 4 – Lie and keep lying, because Trayvon Benjamin Martin or anyone that looks like him has no right to defend himself. Not in Sanford Florida and not at Fruitville Station. It is a shame that we live in a country where we a young Black man cannot get a fair trial, especially if he is the DEAD victim,” wrote Bertha Lewis, President of The Black Institute, in a statement Saturday.
George Zimmerman blinked and barely smiled as a jury found him not guilty of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin the night of Saturday July 14..
Supporters of Martin’s family who had gathered outside the courthouse yelled out “No! No!”
“The acquittal of George Zimmerman is a slap in the face to the American people but it is only the first round in the pursuit of justice. We intend to ask the Department of Justice to move forward as they did in the Rodney King case and we will closely monitor the civil case against Mr. Zimmerman. I will convene an emergency call with preachers tonight to discuss next steps and I intend to head to Florida in the next few days,” Wrote the Rev. Al Sharpton, President of National Action Network and MSNBC Host
The jury had been given the chance to convict Zimmerman of manslaughter but did not do so, despite asking for a clarification of the charge earlier in the evening.
“Trayvon Martin was killed because he was Black. There was no justice done today in Florida,” wrote former City Comptroller Bill Thompson in a statement saturday.
Zimmerman’s wife, Shellie Zimmerman, had tears in her eyes Saturday after the six-member, all-woman jury delivered its verdictSaturday night.
After hearing the verdict, Judge Debra Nelson told Zimmerman he was free to go.
“Today’s conclusion of the Trayvon Martin murder trial showed us just how wide the racial rift in our country still is. As a civil rights advocate and victim of prejudice at a young age, I am outraged. This trial served as nothing more than a public demonization of an innocent teen,” wrote Civil rights advocate and Democratic Candidate for NYC Public Advocate Reshma Saujani in a statement on Saturday.
Jurors heard two different portraits of Zimmerman and had to decide whether he was a wannabe cop who took the law into his own hands or a well-meaning neighborhood watch volunteer who shot the unarmed teenager in self-defense because he feared for his life.
“In these most challenging of times, we are called to act. There is work left to be done to achieve justice for Trayvon.
The Department of Justice can still address the violation of Trayvon’s most fundamental civil right — the right to life, and we are urging them to do so,” wrote Benjamin Todd Jealous President and CEO of the NAACP, calling for people to sign a petition to pressure the Department of Justice to open a civil rights case against George Zimmerman at http://www.naacp.org/sign-the-DOJ-petition