Shortly after George Zimmerman was found not guilty late Saturday of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the self-defense shooting death of Trayvon Martin, unrest hit the city of Oakland as race-mongers like Al Sharpton, the NAACP and even some Democrat members of Congress publicly demanded that the Obama administration pursue federal “civil rights” charges instead. So far, the verdict has elicited outrage and sadness from Martin supporters, while those who believed Zimmerman acted in self-defense reacted with a mixture of relief and anxiety about what comes next.
The outcome was hardly a surprise to anyone following the trial closely. Legal experts and analysts had long been predicting that Zimmerman would walk — especially after many of the witnesses called by prosecutors ended up benefiting the defense. Even testimony by the state’s “star witness,” 19-year-old Rachel Jeantel, ended up backfiring as virtually every legal analyst said she helped bolster Zimmerman’s version of the story. Witnesses and evidence presented by the defense likely put the final nails in the coffin for the prosecution’s half-baked case.
"Your bond will be released," said Judge Debra Nelson after the all-female six-member jury announced its verdict in the case. "Your GPS monitor will be cut off, when you exit the courtroom over here. You have no further business with the court." Glancing at his attorney, Zimmerman cracked a small smile before looking back toward the judge. His family was deeply relieved, too.
After the verdict was announced, however, marchers reportedly hit the streets across Florida and nationwide. Protests on Saturday night were reported in Sanford, where Martin was killed, as well as several major cities including Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Milwaukee, San Francisco, and more. News reports indicate that most of the rallies and protests, a few of which went into Sunday morning, had been largely peaceful despite warnings, threats of rioting and mayhem, and government preparations for riots in some urban areas.
However, in Oakland, California, multiple media outlets reported some violence as hooligans smashed windows, vandalized police cars, burned American flags, and set dumpsters ablaze while shouting pro-Martin slogans. One smashed squad car, shown in press pictures and spread far and wide through social media, can be seen spray painted with the words “kill pigs.” (Referring to police as swine is a tactic commonly used by critics of law enforcement to disparage police). Protests are scheduled for Sunday as well, with some analysts expecting further disorder.
As for Zimmerman, despite being cleared of all charges by a jury of his peers, his life will never be the same. “He's going to be looking over his shoulder the rest of his life,” Robert Zimmerman, Jr., Zimmerman’s brother, said in a CNN interview. Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara echoed those concerns, saying, “There still is a fringe element that wants revenge. They won't listen to a verdict of not guilty.” Last year, the virulently racist New Black Panther Party even put a bounty on Zimmerman amid threats of starting a “race war.”
Meanwhile, race-profiteers, some of whom put what remained of their credibility on the line agitating against Zimmerman, are determined not to let the verdict be the end of the polarizing case. “The acquittal of George Zimmerman is a slap in the face to the American people, but it is only the first round in the pursuit of justice,” claimed professional race-hate agitator Al Sharpton, who helped manufacture racial tensions throughout the case by making wildly inaccurate accusations.
Despite the fact that Zimmerman is Hispanic and Jeantel’s testimony in court revealed that it was Martin who expressed racist sentiments — calling Zimmerman a “creepy a** cracker” on the phone — before the fatal altercation, the media also played a key role in manufacturing racial unrest. Oftentimes, the deception was so blatant that even the establishment press had to apologize. Now, however, the race-baiting crowd is demanding that disgraced Attorney General Eric Holder file federal “civil rights” charges against Zimmerman.
“Tonight, a jury acquitted George Zimmerman. But we are not done demanding justice for Trayvon Martin,” wrote NAACP head Benjamin Todd Jealous after the verdict. “We're calling on the U.S. Justice Department to open a civil rights case against George Zimmerman and have launched a petition to Attorney General Eric Holder.”
The petition reads: “The Department of Justice has closely monitored the State of Florida's prosecution of the case against George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin murder since it began. Today, with the acquittal of George Zimmerman, it is time for the Department of Justice to act. The most fundamental of civil rights — the right to life — was violated the night George Zimmerman stalked and then took the life of Trayvon Martin. We ask that the Department of Justice file civil rights charges against Mr. Zimmerman for this egregious violation.”
Even members of Congress joined in the frenzy. Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), for example, posted a messaged on Twitter saying he was saddened after the verdict but “pleased that DOJ is continuing to evaluate evidence.” The Justice Department, of course, is under fire again after documents obtained by Judicial Watch exposed its role in fomenting anti-Zimmerman protests in Florida. Separately, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) retweeted an NAACP message stating: “We can move from anger to action. Ask the DOJ to pursue federal civil rights charges.”
Respected analysts say the increasingly discredited Justice Department is probably scheming right now to find a way to bring federal charges against Zimmerman, likely for some sort of alleged “civil rights” violation. However, especially after the DOJ’s Community Relations Service was exposed unconstitutionally and unlawfully squandering taxpayer money to help organize protests, critics argue that such an option should not even be on the table.
“In all likelihood, lawyers in the Civil Rights Division are already looking at whether they can still pursue Zimmerman with a civil rights violation even if a local jury finds him innocent of murder,” noted former counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Hans A. von Spakovsky in commentary for the conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation. “The bias shown by the Community Relations Service and its interference in local affairs should disqualify DOJ from pursuing such charges."
Outside of the attention-grabbing whining of professional race-mongers, some black community leaders praised the verdict. “Florida Prosecutors were pressured by racist black leaders and the DOJ to wrongly charge George Zimmerman with Second Degree Murder,” noted Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, founder of the conservative-leaning Brotherhood Organization of A New Destiny (BOND). “I have been asking the American people to pray for George and his family. Our prayers were answered with a not guilty verdict.”
Separately, the state prosecutors are still under fire for everything from bringing the case in the first place to what critics have called “grave ethical violations” throughout the ordeal. The prosecution’s most recent public relations problem emerged after it was revealed by a whistle-blower that the State Attorney’s office failed to hand over all relevant information to defense lawyers, as required by law. Ben Kruidbos, who served as IT director for the State Attorney’s office until being fired for exposing the problem, said prosecutors withheld vast amounts of key information in the case.
If Zimmerman had been convicted of murder, he would have faced between 25 years and life in prison. After it became clear to virtually everyone that there was no way the defendant would be convicted of second-degree murder, the judge instructed jurors to consider manslaughter charges as well, which could carry up to 30 years in prison. In the end, the jury found that Zimmerman was not guilty after deliberating for more than 15 hours. Whether the saga ends here, however, remains to be seen.
Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, politics, and more. He can be reached at
Photo of New Black Panther Party member shouting slogans outside Seminole County Courthouse after verdict was announced: AP Images
If Zimmerman Walks, Media-inspired Riots Anticipated