Former president Jimmy Carter agrees with the jury’s acquittal in the George Zimmerman trial, “based on the evidence,” and backed President Obama’s stance that Americans should respect the ruling.
"I think the jury made the right decision based on the evidence presented because the prosecution inadvertently set the standard so high that the jury had to be convinced that it was a deliberate act by Zimmerman and that he was not at all defending himself," Carter told radio station WXIA in Atlanta
. "It's not a moral question. It was a legal question and the American law requires that the jury listens to the evidence presented."
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A neighborhood watch volunteer, Zimmerman was acquitted July 13 in the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin
, whose death prompted outrage over the state’s "stand your ground" laws, as well as renewed discussion about racial profiling.
Prosecutors argued during the trial that Zimmerman profiled and murdered the teenager, then lied that Martin initiated the fight. In order to be found guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter, the prosecution had to prove that he intended to harm Martin.
Asked if race played a factor in the decision, Carter said he couldn’t say that the jurors weren’t as sensitive to race issue as anyone else.
“I would presume that they listened to the evidence,” he said.
Carter isn’t alone in citing the law for the proper verdict, regardless of the emotional responses. One of the jurors told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that Zimmerman was "justified" in shooting the 17-year-old
Known as Juror B37, the woman explained the jury’s decision in a two-part interview that aired Monday and Tuesday night. She said that she wanted to find Zimmerman guilty of "not using his senses," but "you can't charge him with anything because he didn't do anything unlawful."
She added that Zimmerman "started the ball rolling" and could’ve avoided the tragic confrontation by remaining in his car.
"I think he had good in his heart. He just went overboard," Juror B37 told Cooper.
The juror also said that she believed Martin was targeted because of his suspicious behavior, not because he was African-American.
"I don't think race had anything to do with this trial,” she said. “I mean just because he was black and George was Spanish or Puerto Rican, I don't think it had anything to do with this trial. But I think people are looking for things to make race play a part.
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