Locals react to Zimmerman verdict, aftermath

When Jim Jackson turned on his TV Saturday night, he was seeking evidence of change.
Alissa Widman Neese
Jul 17, 2013

But as he observed a slew of unforeseen updates regarding a contentious trial verdict, the president of the local NAACP chapter said he felt nothing less than a slap in the face.

“A verdict like this shows nothing has changed too much from the 1950s,” Jackson said Monday. “The local black community is outraged. We’re stunned. And we have a right to be.”   

This past weekend, a jury acquitted a Florida neighborhood watch volunteer of all charges against him in the killing of a teenager this past year. He could have been convicted of second-degree murder or manslaughter. 

The man, George Zimmerman, shot an unarmed 17-year-old, Trayvon Martin, in what he claimed was an act of self-defense. Others claimed Zimmerman, who identifies himself as Hispanic, racially profiled Martin, a black teen who was walking home from a convenience store on a rainy February night.       

A jury of six deliberated for more than 15 hours and determined Saturday that Zimmerman’s claims were justified. The polarizing decision has ignited passionate responses nationwide regarding racial profiling, state gun laws and what constitutes self-defense. 

Some have said the case isn’t a race issue, but to Jackson, the situation’s racial implications are impossible to ignore.   

“Try to imagine the situation reversed, if a black man shot a white teenager on his way home in his neighborhood,” Jackson said. “There would be outrage among everyone. What it comes down to is the question: ‘Is racism dead in America?’ Obviously it’s not.”   

The NAACP has called for the U.S. Department of Justice to open a civil rights case against Zimmerman. The justice department said Sunday it’s looking into the case to determine whether it should do so.

The NAACP has created an online petition to the department, which it’s promoting on its website, www.naacp.org. Most local NAACP members have signed it. Despite the petition and outcry, many local individuals, including those practicing law, contend the federal ruling was correct.   

“It’s easy to second-guess others, but we weren’t in the courtroom nor on the street,” said Kenneth R. Bailey, an attorney in Sandusky. “I have faith that the jury’s verdict of actual innocence is accurate.”   

An arrest doesn’t mean an individual is guilty, which is the mindset of many Americans following divisive trials, Bailey said. In this instance, Bailey acknowledged injustice is still alive, regardless of the verdict.   

“Mr. Zimmerman will be followed by the shadow of this case for the rest of his life,” Bailey said. “Meanwhile, the Martin family will never be reunited with their son. Nobody received justice.”   

Chris Knople, a Norwalk resident who spoke about the case Monday after responding to one of the Register’s Facebook posts, said he believes people should “trust the jury followed the letter of the law” and stop making uninformed decisions regarding the case, including rioting and citing racism.   

“In the days to follow, I’m going to be interested in seeing if Zimmerman is pursued by the justice department,” Knople said. “Will it be because of pressure from the public and Washington D.C., or will it be because actual charges exist? We shall see.”

 

George Zimmerman case highlights

George Zimmerman's trial in the shooting death of teen Trayvon Martin was nearly three weeks long and concluded Saturday night with an acquittal on all charges. The ruling on the Florida case unleashed debate nationwide concerning racial profiling, self-defense, gun laws and equal justice.

•The verdict: George Zimmerman, who identifies as Hispanic, was found not guilty of second-degree murder in the 2012 death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who is black. The jury could have considered manslaughter charges for Zimmerman but declined doing so.

•The jury: The case's judge issued an anonymity order for the six jurors during the trial, so their names have not been made public. They delivered their verdict Saturday after 15 hours of deliberation.

•President's response: The White House doesn't typically respond to trials not involving the president or federal government, but it issued a rare statement Sunday about the Zimmerman trial. In the statement, President Barack Obama said "we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken," but also called Martin's death a tragedy and acknowledged the strong passions it elicited nationwide.

•Looking forward: Zimmerman left the courthouse this weekend as a free man with no charges. The NAACP has called for the U.S. Department of Justice to open a civil rights case against Zimmerman. The department said Sunday it's looking into the case to determine whether it should do so.

 

Friendly chatter

The Register asked some of its Facebook friends for their opinions on the trial verdict:

•Shari Miller: The jury made the decision. If anyone is unhappy with it then they should be mad at the jury. It is what it is.

•Robert Vanwhy: It's messed up how someone can kill an innocent kid and get away with it and an innocent woman fires warning shots to protect herself and she gets 20 years. That's one messed up system down there.

•Jon Adams: Poor George Zimmerman has to fear for his life. In a fit of hilarity George's brother worried that "someone might take the law into his own hands!"

•Kimberly Slater-Price: Very happy!

•Shaun Bickley: It should have never went to trial. Zimmerman never committed any crime. The police would not press charges, then politically 44 days after the event, the special prosecutor charged him ... Total crap!

•Tim Stang: Time to move on, folks. Nobody won in this tragedy.

•Kari Hamer: Enough with the race war. Tragedies happen every day to many different races, not all black and white.

•Dianne Trout: I am not convinced that he is not guilty. Why would you take a gun outside in a residential area with the safety off if you were not premeditating something?

•Dionne Amison: Not one of you would say say "time to move on" or "get over it" if it had been your 17-year-old child that had been racially profiled, followed, chased down and then gunned down like an animal.

•Tiffany England: None of this would have been about race if the media didn't make it that way. Nothing makes any sense in America anymore.

 

Comments

The Big Dog's back

Did you hear the juror who spoke out last night? If you don't see what a bullspit verdict this was you are beyond help.

herbie_hancock

Whats a SR story without a little "Drama Dog"

Huron_1969

Ummmmm....
Christmas in July?
Lottery winner?
Same joy as bowling a 300?
Welcome relief?
A miracle?

grumpy

Notice all piddle puppy does is whine, but won't make a post about the details of who and WHAT was done wrong about the case. Emotions and vitriol is what he is limited to.

The Big Dog's back

Funny how the testimony of Rachel Jeantel coincided with the 911 tapes. Hmmmmm.

grumpy

Yes, it sure did that time she repeated it. When she talked to the cops she said differently, then when she did her deposition she said something different.... But when she got on the stand she finally came up with yet another version.

I will let you search for the truth on those things also. They are easy to find on the internet.

Mystery_Cheese

Are you referencing the juror who stated that originally, they were divided about the verdict, but after going over the evidence for 16 hours, decided Zimmerman was not guilty. That juror? The one who confirmed that the evidence even swayed a previously divided jury?

whazup

Dumb Dog hears what he wants to hear.

Maggdi

Unfortunately there are many people in this country who "are hearing what they want to hear". And are using it as justification to do bodily harm to others not of their 'race'. That is the the real danger we face at this time.
I'm sure the DOJ will pursue these "Hate Crimes" professionally and with vigor.

LabMan

4 other jurors said her stetements were not true.

Mr. D

You mean the juror who said that after 16 hrs of deliberating and based on evidence presented to them, they all agreed that they could not convict Zimmerman of the charges. Is that the juror you speak of?

man4451

YOUR missing the whole RACE thing, its not Black and White as the media wants you to believe. There are OTHER races involved.

SoldOnAcorns

We didn't see white folk rioting in the streets after the O.J. verdict now did we ???

The Big Dog's back

Ahhhhh yes we did.

KnuckleDragger

Where?

The Big Dog's back

How could 3 jurors, 2 who were for Manslaughter 1 for 2nd degree murder change their minds in the last hour to not guilty?

OldRightWingNut

This could only happen is if they actually looked at the law and made their decision based on the law.

The Big Dog's back

bullspit.

Mystery_Cheese

I notice you post 'bullspit' after every post that doesn't agree with you. Enlightening.

The Big Dog's back

It is isn't it.

bobshumway92

I'm loving all of this drama!!! Bunch of whiny cry babies!!!

grumpy

You are correct. They knew what the term "reasonable doubt" actually means. They read the judges instructions and followed the rules of law as written. They weren't controlled by emotion. Like many they felt sorry for Martin's parents but voted on the facts and evidence of the case that was presented to them during trial.

The Big Dog's back

So they had an awakening in the last hour?

grumpy

Didn't say that. They read the judges instructions, looked at the evidence, discussed it for hours on end, understood what the term "Reasonable Doubt" actually means when used in a court of law, and came to agree that the prosecution did not meet it's burden to prove it's case. They were in discussions for over 16 hours.

The Big Dog's back

They were still undecided after 15 hours. It was 3-3. Did you hear the jurist speak?

Mystery_Cheese

Apparently, unlike you, the jurors were open-minded enough to understand the laws, and realized Zimmerman was not guilty of the charges brought against him. Someone that's closed-minded would not understand. Their mind would already be made up, and even when presented with facts that prove them wrong, they would be unable to accept it, despite facts.

The Big Dog's back

Apparently you didn't hear the jurist speak or you wouldn't be echoing fox news.

Mystery_Cheese

Amazing, since I don't watch Fox, MSNBC, or any other hate-filled 'news' channel. I'm not ignorant enough to let others discern my beliefs. I form my own by reading facts from multiple sources, and using critical thinking, not emotion, to formulate an opinion on a subject. I'm not a Zimmerman supporter, nor a Martin supporter. I only support facts and evidence.

grumpy

How can one juror know how convinced the other jurors are in their opinions? She can't see into their minds anymore than you can. it is obvious that they must not have been that convinced, after 15 hours or they wouldn't have decided how they did. I suggest that you go down there and run each of those on the jury down and ask them piddle puppy, then you will know and can make a knowing comment on this, instead of conjecture. Don't let the cops try to stop you from harassing the jurors, you have the right to know.

deertracker

You mean Faux News!!!!!!!

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