George Zimmerman verdict: Protests continue Monday
Updated: July 15, 2013 - 05:26 pm
The acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of an unarmed teen last year has touched off mostly peaceful demonstrations large and small across the country, with protesters calling the verdict a miscarriage of justice.
Church services and street protests ranging from a few dozen to hundreds of people on Sunday decried the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin as a tragedy made worse by a flawed verdict.
Unhappy with the not guilty verdict, hundreds took to D.C.'s U Street corridor Saturday night to protest. By Sunday, people in D.C. were more reflective on what happened in the controversial case.
"Was it justice? In my opinion it was not justice, but it may have been correct to the letter of the law," Washington resident Phil Basso said.
Los Angeles police said they began making arrests early Monday morning after about 80 protesters gathered in Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard and an unlawful assembly was declared.
Meanwhile, in New York City, hundreds of protesters marched into Times Square Sunday night, zigzagging through Manhattan's streets to avoid police lines. Sign-carrying marchers thronged the busy intersection, chanting "Justice for! Trayvon Martin!" as they made their way from Union Square, blocking traffic for more than an hour before moving on.
In San Francisco and Los Angeles - where an earlier protest was dispersed with beanbag rounds - police closed streets as protesters marched Sunday to condemn Zimmerman's acquittal.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti urged protesters to "practice peace" after the rock- and bottle-throwing incident. Police arrested one man.
Back in the D.C. area, many said they had been hoping for a different outcome and were disappointed and saddened.
"I felt there should have been some repercussions for taking someone's life...there should be consequences," Joy Fuller of Los Angeles said.
Thousands are calling for the Justice Department to charge Zimmerman with civil rights violations, but President Obama says he's not getting involved.
Attorney General Eric Holder called the shooting “tragic and unnecessary,” but said the Justice Department will follow the facts and law to decide if federal charges are warranted.
While the White House tries to temper stirred up emotions, the legal community, like much of America, continues to weigh if the case was about more than the letter of the law.
“Many people put in the racial context,” says attorney Scott Bolden.
“This is far from being race, you know what I’m saying? This is just a bad situation that happened,” says Jorge Rodriguez, Zimmerman’s friend.
That’s a tough sell for many people who rallied over the weekend. Protests are planned in dozens of more cities across the country for Saturday.
“What bugs America and what bugs most people about this verdict is no one is taking responsibility for the death of this young man,” says Bolden.
That could change, though, if Martin’s attorneys file a civil suit, bringing either civil rights or wrongful death claims. They could finally put Zimmerman on the stand and may answer some of the questions still lingering after the criminal trial.
“Look for that case to be a better forum in our search for the truth,” says Bolden. “We’ll get to the bottom of this in that civil case.”
No matter what happens in a civil case, Zimmerman would not go to jail. That could only happen if he’s convicted of federal charges, but he could be held financially liable, meaning if he wrote a book, for example, the proceeds could go to Martin’s family instead of Zimmerman. One of the jurors is apparently looking to cash in, already hiring an agent to negotiate a book deal for herself.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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