George Zimmerman, the Florida man accused of murdering Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, 2012, was found not guilty. The verdict was announced at 10:02 ET.
The verdict is the culmination of a case that captured the nation’s attention and will undoubtedly be imprinted in America’s history. The not guilty verdict means the jury of six women found that Zimmerman justifiably used deadly force and reasonably believed that such force was “necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm” to himself — Florida’s definition of self-defense.
Zimmerman showed no emotion as the verdict was read. After the verdict was read, he smiled slightly and shook hands with one of his lawyers.
The women decided Zimmerman didn’t “intentionally commit an act or acts that caused death” or demonstrate a “depraved mind without regard for human life” –Florida’s definitions of manslaughter and second degree murder, respectively.
In a press conference after the verdict was read, lead prosecutor Bernie De la Rionda said, “I am disappointed in the verdict but I respect it. We accept the jury’s verdict.”
“It means there was reasonable doubt,” said Susan Constantine, a jury consultant and body language expert who attended Zimmerman’s trial regularly. “They just could not put the pieces together.” (source)
The case has been a source of extreme controversy and division since the shooting occurred. Initially Zimmerman was not charged. Florida has a “stand your ground” law, which allows for whatever force is necessary to defend oneself. Protests across the country claiming that Trayvon, a black man, was killed for reasons of race drove public sentiment. The media coverage forced the hand of authorities, and Zimmerman, a Hispanic man, was charged and brought to trial.
With the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the country now awaits another set of protests – and these may become violent.
The New Black Panther Party has reportedly begun a mobilization campaign to target white communities.
According to a recent post on Sodahead, leader Samir Shabazz and the New Black Panthers are preparing to take the fight directly to those guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin – white people living in suburbs all over America.
“This time we’re doing it right… This time we’re not burning down our communities. This time we’re going out to Whitey’s suburbs and burning down HIS community. We’re going to make Whitey feel the pain.”
Thousands of tweets and Facebook posts echo Shabazz’s comments, with many users taking to the social networks to proclaim their support for the random killing of whites should George Zimmerman be found innocent. (Read more)
Will the “not guilty” verdict be the match that lights the fuse to a violent race war on American streets?
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