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NAACP Calls for Feds to Prosecute Zimmerman

Image: NAACP Calls for Feds to Prosecute Zimmerman

By Sandy Fitzgerald   |   Sunday, 14 Jul 2013 10:28 AM

The NAACP is calling for the Department of Justice to prosecute George Zimmerman for shooting Florida teen Trayvon Martin, with President Benjamin Jealous saying the organization is "outraged and heartbroken" over the trial jury's not guilty verdict.

"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 in a statement released after the verdict.

The Justice Department had already opened a civil rights probe in the Zimmerman case before the case came to trial, ABC reports, and a spokeswoman said Saturday the department will continue to "evaluate the evidence generated during the federal investigation, as well as the evidence and testimony from the state trial."

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The Rev. Al Sharpton called Zimmerman's acquittal a "slap in the face to the American people," while insisting the trial "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," Sharpton said Saturday. "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."

Adora Obi Nwese, president of the Florida NAACP State Conference, said Saturday justice did not prevail in the Zimmerman case, CBS News reports.

"We lost a young man due to senseless violence, but justice did not prevail," Nwese said. "Last year we pushed for the arrest of George Zimmerman and a thorough investigation and trial. Today, we are still called to act. No one should be allowed to use this law to commit a senseless crime again."

The slain teen's father, Tracy Martin, took to Twitter Saturday night to offer words of thanks through a series of statements.

"God blessed Me & Sybrina with Tray and even in his death I know my baby proud of the FIGHT we along with all of you put up for him GOD BLESS."

Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, also said wrote on Twitter that she appreciated the prayers from supporters, saying, "Lord during my darkest hour I lean on you. You are all that I have." And the boy's brother, Jahvaris Fulton, simply said "Et tu America?"

Reactions were mixed even within Zimmerman's family after the verdict, with his brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr., told CNN that he didn't "think this is a time for high-fiving."

But Zimmerman's father was happy with the verdict, reports Fox News, tweeting, "Our whole family is relieved. Today... I'm proud to be an American. God Bless America! Thank you for your prayers!"

Other statements varied, though, from calling for peace to making veiled threats of violence. For example, New York Giants wide reciever Victor Cruz got some attention when he sent a threatening tweet, saying "Thoroughly confused. Zimmerman doesn't last a year before the hood catches up to him," Breitbart.com reports. The tweet has since been taken down.

And people in the parking lot of the courthouse were stunned by the verdict.

Rosie Barron, 50, and Andrew Perkins, 55, brother-and-sister black residents of Sanford, cried upon hearing about the acquittal, CBS reports.

"I at least thought he was going to get something, something," Barron said, with her brother adding, "How the hell did they find him not guilty? He killed somebody and got away with murder. He ain't getting no probation or nothing."

But there were several Zimmerman supporters outside the courthouse who agreed with the verdict because they believed Zimmerman acted in self-defense.

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Chris Bay, who stood outside the courthouse with his sister, Cindy Lenzen, called the case a tragedy, especially for Zimmerman.

"It's a tragedy that he's going to suffer for the rest of his life," Bay said. "No one wins either way. This is going to be a recurring nightmare in his mind every night."

City and state politicians also weighed in on the verdict.

"The death of Trayvon Martin shows that we must all work harder to shed the dangerous stereotypes that can have devastating consequences for individuals, families and our society," said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

And Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, NJ, tweeted, "We must mourn the unnecessary & unjust death of a child, but to honor him we must rededicate ourselves to the very ideals that were violated."

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