From television to the streets to social media, people all over the nation — and the borough — are reacting to the not-guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial.
The trial against Zimmerman in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin lasted roughly three weeks. In the end, on Saturday, July 13, the defendant was acquitted of second-degree murder based on reasonable doubt.
Last year, Zimmerman, a member of the neighborhood watch in his Florida community, said he saw Martin walking at night acting suspiciously. Zimmerman, who was armed, pursued Martin. After an exchange, the details of which took center stage at the trial, Zimmerman shot Martin in what he said was self-defense.
Congressmember Gregory Meeks, a former prosecutor, said he understands “in detail” how the criminal justice system works and that no matter the case’s circumstances, “neither the presentation of the evidence or the evidence are always accurate predictors of a jury’s decision.”
“Our justice system says we must abide by a jury’s decision,” he said. “But abiding by a jury’s decision does not require that we agree with it.”
Similarly, Congressmember Hakeem Jeffries denounced the verdict.
“Once again, the court system has failed to deliver justice in a racially-tinged matter that involves the killing of an innocent, unarmed African-American male,” he said.
Councilmember Eric Ulrich was one of many who took to Twitter to share their views on the verdict and spoke in favor of the courts.
“[The] Zimmerman verdict is proof that innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt is still the cornerstone of the justice system,” he said. “The rights of the accused cannot be compromised by the court of public opinion. Everyone is entitled to a fair trial.”
Ulrich also said he was “extremely disappointed with the amount of race baiting [sic] and political pandering” on the social media site.
Protestors flooded city streets Sunday night following the verdict to express their opposition to the acquittal.
State Senator James Sanders held a panel discussion analyzing legal aspects of the trial and events that led to the murder, including how to move forward to “ensure that an injustice like this does not happen again.”
Jeffries, Meeks and other elected officials held a press conference on Monday, July 15 to request the Department of Justice consider prosecuting Zimmerman for civil rights violations. The NAACP has called for the same measure.