Zimmerman acquitted in Trayvon Martin death

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SANFORD, Fla. — Neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman was cleared of all charges Saturday in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager whose killing unleashed furious debate across the U.S. over racial profiling, self-defense and equal justice.

Zimmerman, 29, blinked and barely smiled when the verdict was announced. He could have been convicted of second-degree murder or manslaughter. But the jury of six women, all but one of them white, reached a verdict of not guilty after deliberating well into the night Saturday. The jurors considered nearly three weeks of often wildly conflicting testimony over who was the aggressor on the rainy night the 17-year-old was shot while walking through the gated townhouse community where he was staying.

Defense attorneys said the case was classic self-defense, claiming Martin knocked Zimmerman down and was slamming the older man’s head against the concrete sidewalk when Zimmerman fired his gun.

Prosecutors called Zimmerman a liar and portrayed him was a “wannabe cop” vigilante who had grown frustrated by break-ins in his neighborhood committed primarily by young black men. Zimmerman assumed Martin was up to no good and took the law into his own hands, prosecutors said.

State Attorney Angela Corey said after the verdict that she believed second-degree murder was the appropriate charge because Zimmerman’s mindset “fit the bill of second-degree murder.”

“We charged what we believed we could prove,” Corey said.

As the verdict drew near, police and city leaders in the Orlando suburb of Sanford and other parts of Florida said they were taking precautions against the possibility of mass protests or unrest in the event of an acquittal.

“There is no party in this case who wants to see any violence,” Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger said immediately after jurors began deliberating. “We have an expectation upon this announcement that our community will continue to act peacefully.”

The verdict came a year and a half after civil rights protesters angrily demanded Zimmerman be prosecuted.

Zimmerman wasn’t arrested for 44 days after the Feb. 26, 2012, shooting as police in Sanford insisted that Florida’s Stand Your Ground law on self-defense prohibited them from bringing charges. Florida gives people wide latitude to use deadly force if they fear death or bodily harm.

Martin’s parents, along with civil rights leaders such as the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, argued that Zimmerman – whose father is white and whose mother is Hispanic – had racially profiled their son. And they accused investigators of dragging their feet because Martin was a black teenager.

Before a special prosecutor assigned to the case ordered Zimmerman’s arrest, thousands of protesters gathered in Sanford, Miami, New York and elsewhere, many wearing hoodies like the one Martin had on the night he died. They also carried Skittles and a can of iced tea, items Martin had in his pocket. President Obama weighed in, saying that if he had a son, “he’d look like Trayvon.”

Despite the racially charged nature of the case, race was barely mentioned at the trial. Even after the verdict, prosecutors said race was not about race.

“This case has never been about race or the right to bear arms,” Corey said. “We believe this case all along was about boundaries, and George Zimmerman exceeded those boundaries.”

One exception was the testimony of Rachel Jeantel, the Miami teen who was talking to Martin by phone moments before he was shot. She said he described being followed by a “creepy … cracker” as he walked through the neighborhood.

Jeantel gave some of the trial’s most riveting testimony. She said she overheard Martin demand, “What are you following me for?” and then yell, “Get off! Get off!” before his cellphone went dead.

The jurors had to sort out clashing testimony from 56 witnesses in all, including police, neighbors, friends and family members.

For example, witnesses who got fleeting glimpses of the fight in the darkness gave differing accounts of who was on top. And Martin’s parents and Zimmerman’s parents both claimed that the person heard screaming for help in the background of a neighbor’s 911 call was their son. Numerous other relatives and friends weighed in, too, as the recording was played over and over in court. Zimmerman had cuts and scrapes on his face and the back of his head, but prosecutors suggested the injuries were not serious.

To secure a second-degree murder conviction, prosecutors had to convince the jury that Zimmerman acted with a “depraved” state of mind – that is, with ill will, hatred or spite. Prosecutors said he demonstrated that when he swore while talking about “punks” who “always get away” during a call to police as he watched Martin walk through his neighborhood.

To win a manslaughter conviction, prosecutors had to convince the jury only that Zimmerman killed without lawful justification.

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Dixieman
14948
Points
Dixieman 07/13/13 - 10:21 pm
27
7
Just result

The jury came to the correct conclusion, which took some courage in light of the threats of violence if Mr. Zimmerman was acquitted. This is a case that should NEVER have been brought.
Hope everyone everywhere will respect the verdict and remain peaceful.

KSL
129740
Points
KSL 07/13/13 - 10:24 pm
17
6
Dixieman

Absolutely.

juantez
234
Points
juantez 07/13/13 - 10:28 pm
0
0
It will be called street
Unpublished

It will be called street justice...

internationallyunknown
4211
Points
internationallyunknown 07/13/13 - 10:42 pm
12
7
Trayvon Benjamin Martin

Neither can you. Prayers for all involved.

willie7
955
Points
willie7 07/13/13 - 10:59 pm
2
22
I hope there will be
Unpublished

I hope there will be rioting---its is a racial decision.
Zimmerman was asked to stop chasing the youth but insisted to pursue him. Zimmerman didn't request medical aid after shooting Travon.
Tear the town down!!!!

Gage Creed
17236
Points
Gage Creed 07/14/13 - 10:27 am
10
2
^^^^^ Really?

^^^^^ Really?

Edit: The offending post was removed, so this post is not relevant to the above post.

Little Lamb
46022
Points
Little Lamb 07/13/13 - 11:06 pm
18
1
Reflection

Tomorrow afternoon, after you've had a chance to reflect, meditate, think, and pray; I hope you make a comment on this thread apologizing for that comment, Willie.

GnipGnop
12240
Points
GnipGnop 07/13/13 - 11:09 pm
14
2
So that's the answer to things we don't agree with?

Tear the town down? You need to seek some help and Sean you might as well shut the comments down on this article already....some people....

oldfella
620
Points
oldfella 07/13/13 - 11:11 pm
21
2
No, Willie 7

Having this trial at all was a "racial decision." If the races were reversed there wouldn't have even been a trial. If there was it would have been local level and the result would have still been "not guilty" because facts are facts, and the state never had enough, but racially motivated political pressure forced their hand. Some people were using a self defense case as a civil rights case and it back-fired. You want to burn down the town, start with your own home first please.

Pops
8517
Points
Pops 07/13/13 - 11:27 pm
11
2
Not important enough

to worry about the correct spelling.....

KSL
129740
Points
KSL 07/13/13 - 11:34 pm
8
3
Right

Pops.

scoopdedoop64
2366
Points
scoopdedoop64 07/13/13 - 11:39 pm
18
3
Happy for George Zimmerman

I am happy for George Zimmerman because I believe he received justice from the jurors. I am sorry that the Martins had to go through the loss of their child. I think both Zimmerman and Martin made some poor choices that evening that might have changed the outcome. But once Zimmerman was on the ground with a larger, more athletic 17 year old beating his to the pavement then he had no choice. As to Willie's comment, Please rethink what you are saying. Violence is not the answer to our race problems, they only make it worse. So many were calling for justice for Treyvon, well, he got justice by having all the facts revealed. The truth came out and the jury said "Not Guilty". It's time to let it go.

internationallyunknown
4211
Points
internationallyunknown 07/13/13 - 11:44 pm
2
12
I also pray for KSL and

I also pray for KSL and POPS....bless their hearts.

KSL
129740
Points
KSL 07/13/13 - 11:50 pm
15
5
Willie

Can you justify the media showing a picture of the 12 year old Martin, when he looked much different slinking around the shadows wearing a hoodie?

itsanotherday1
43258
Points
itsanotherday1 07/13/13 - 11:55 pm
19
0
I take no comfort in the verdict.

Zimmerman set off the chain of events that led to this young man's death; but broke no laws in the process. That is the gut instinct issue many like me struggle with. However, when you boil it down to its essence, Zimmerman broke no statutes.The verdict was just by law; but I have a ton of empathy for the Martin family. It isn't like he was a gangbanger killed in a drug deal or the like. Zimmerman made a bad choice as did Trayvon; the end result was Trayvon's death.

I also have to agree with the above, had it been a different race mix in the situation, we would have never heard about it; and that is a sad state of affairs.

KSL
129740
Points
KSL 07/13/13 - 11:56 pm
15
2
internationally

You might consider praying for willie. He is the one advocating violence. He said "riots" not "demonstrations" or "protests."

internationallyunknown
4211
Points
internationallyunknown 07/14/13 - 12:47 am
4
4
I took your comment as

I took your comment as serious.

Do you think he is serious?
Do you thnk he will be as serious after a shock from a taser or a hole froma bullet? I.e. I didn't take Hume serious....it's hard to riot by yourself.

Bodhisattva
6214
Points
Bodhisattva 07/14/13 - 12:59 am
6
19
If the races were reversed,

If the races were reversed, the black stalker would have been in jail from the start and the Zimmerman supporters on this site would be screaming for the death penalty. Until the ultra right wing ALEC's ridiculous "Stand Your Ground" laws, that allow the agressor and instigator of a confrontation to be given a pass, are repealed by the GOP states that passed them, then we're only going to see more and more of this type of problem. Protecting your home if someone is trying to forcibly enter is one thing, following them aound while armed, getting out of your vehicle, then claiming you feared for your life after blowing them away is stalking, and at the least manslaughter, possibly murder, no matter what the jury said. Zimmerman now faces the problem of people now knowing he's an armed stalker who profiles by race. One day, if he follows too close and his actions become too suspicious, someone just might fear for his or her own life.

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 07/14/13 - 01:15 am
10
0
I don't think Zimmerman made wise decisions!!

I also believe he MIGHT have been an over-zealous, neighborhood watch guy; but as another poster on here stated "He committed no infraction of the law".

But peoples reaction to this is ridiculous!!

internationallyunknown
4211
Points
internationallyunknown 07/14/13 - 01:26 am
3
8
Sad!

The "law" is the problem!

If you feel people's reaction to this is ridiculous, then you just don't get it.....and usually MyFather gets it...

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 07/14/13 - 01:25 am
19
3
How many 17 year old black

How many 17 year old black kids are killed on the streets of Chicao, every week or day; by other black people and we NEVER hear about specific cases. We only hear a number of how many have been killed!! I must agree with Zimmerman's lawyer; if this had been black on black, we wouldn't have heard a thing about it!! We also wouldn't have seen charges brought against the shooter because there wouldn't have been the Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons demanding charges be filed.

This is just another opportunity for those attention grabbers!!

Another thing I simply can't wrap my mind around is how the media (CNN, MSNBC) always referred to Georgie Zimmerman as WHITE!! So let me get this straight, George Zimmerman is half white and half hispanic; he shoots a black teen and now he is definately WHITE!!!

Our President is half white and half black but not a single person has EVER even attempted to refer to him as white!!! WHY?? Race baiting, that's why!!!!! You can look at George Zimmerman and clearly see he is not caucasian; but to point that out, wouldn't fuel the RACE BAITING!! It wouldn't bring as much attention to the race baiters like Al Sharpton!!

These people manipulate peoples minds over and over and those that follow them, don't even know it!! Those following these people are nothing but puppets, being pulled by the strings!!

oldfella
620
Points
oldfella 07/14/13 - 01:26 am
13
0
Sorry Bodhisattva

But for every case of some races getting picked on I can find a case where that same race gets a pass - gets off easy. That's why we have juries of disinterested, unbiased members - to cut through the politics, so emotions and prejudices don't get in the way. The jury gets sequestered so they only get the facts, not opinions. But we all know this doesn't always happen. There is mistrust of the justice system by all races for different reasons. My attitude is to do everything I can to stay out of legal trouble because you never know how a case will turn out. Both of these men had ample opportunity to avoid trouble - and the facts proved this. As a parent I know it's hard to admit that your kids make mistakes and bite off more than they can chew - but blaming their their tragedy on racism might not be accurate or fair.

internationallyunknown
4211
Points
internationallyunknown 07/14/13 - 01:27 am
4
8
Hispanic is not a race!

Hispanic is not a race!

internationallyunknown
4211
Points
internationallyunknown 07/14/13 - 01:33 am
3
11
His mother is Peruvian. His

His mother is Peruvian.
His father is Anglo/Saxon

George Zimmerman is white. But does that matter...?

Bodhisattva
6214
Points
Bodhisattva 07/14/13 - 01:35 am
1
15
Is not following police

Is not following police instructions to discontinue stalking Martin an offense? Seriously, if you don't do what the cops tell you, of course other directly hindering an investigation, are you just being a pain or can they charge you? I'm sure there's a cop on here that knows the answer.

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 07/14/13 - 01:36 am
10
1
The "Law" is not the

The "Law" is not the problem!! I completely agree with the Stand Your Ground law!! Yes, Zimmerman probably was an over-zealous police wannabe, but if Trayvon had not attacked him, which was clearly brought out in Court (hence, the acquittal); then Trayvon would still be alive today!! Those marks on Zimmerman's face and head didn't magically appear!!

I'm not talking about on-duty; because that is a different scenario all together!! If someone is resisting me, I'm suppose to get them in custody!! BUT, if I'm off duty and someone attacks me and is trying to do harm to me, they better be prepared for serious consequences. I don't EVER want to take a life, on or off duty!! But If I'm off duty and someone attacks me unprevoked, I will do WHATEVER I have to do to survive!! That's the point here; following someone is NOT placing that persons life in danger!!! Attacking someone and beating their head into the concrete, very well could be endangering their lives!!

If Trayvon had waited maybe another maybe 10 minutes; the police could have arrived and took charge of the situation!! But he didn't and obviously, the trial proved he attacked Zimmerman!! Or at lease brought enough reasonable doubt against a conviction!!

The lesson learned from the trial shouldn't be that someone can shoot unarmed teenagers!! The lesson should be for people to keep their COOL, stay calm and let the situation settle down!! When the police are on their way; it might be a few minutes but are those few minutes worth saving a life? Yes!! Again, following someone is NOT endangering their lives!! There is no reason to confront and engage someone who is following you. Call 911 and try to stay away from them until LE officers arrive!!

internationallyunknown
4211
Points
internationallyunknown 07/14/13 - 01:39 am
7
3
It wasn't a cop...the phone

It wasn't a cop...the phone guy testified that they are held liable for what they say....they can only suggest but rarely give direct orders.

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 07/14/13 - 01:41 am
12
0
Bodhisattva

No POLICE OFFICER told Zimmerman to stop following Trayvon!! A dispatcher was who told him this and NO, disobeying a dispatcher is not a crime!!

A dispatcher is NOT a certified law enforcement officer!!

If I am conducting an investigation and you interfere or hinder me in doing so; YES I can charge with you obstruction of an officer!! But a dispatcher can NOT charge you with anything!! I can also charge a person with abuse of 911 or false report of a crime, but a dispatcher can not make a criminal charge!!

internationallyunknown
4211
Points
internationallyunknown 07/14/13 - 01:42 am
2
14
Did Trayvon know the police

Did Trayvon know the police were coming?

Did you hear about the Stand Your Ground caseinTexas in 2008?
Did you hear about the Stand Your Ground case in Fla. involving a mother?

Loot into them and let me know if you still agree wit the law.

The law was created and passed in many GOP states.
That's why the defense was the "prosecution". The law creates these sernarios.

internationallyunknown
4211
Points
internationallyunknown 07/14/13 - 01:45 am
1
10
What's said about the

What's said about the Itelligence Quotient most police departments use?

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