Eric Holder. The ball is in his court
More statements denouncing the verdict in George Zimmerman’s trial for the killing of Trayvon Martin continued to come in today with the Rev. Al Sharpton’s organization announcing a petition drive calling on the Justice Department to take up the case.
Zimmerman was acquitted of second degree murder charges and manslaughter.
“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,” Rev. Sharpton
President of National Action Network, said. “We intend to ask the Department of Justice to move forward as they did in the Rodney King case and we will closely monitor the civil case against Mr. Zimmerman. I will convene an emergency call with preachers tonight to discuss next steps and I intend to head to Florida in the next few days.”
In a separate statement, announcing the petition, his organization said: “National Action Network (NAN) has maintained since day one that the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman should be fully and completely investigated for all violations of the law. Now that George Zimmerman has been acquitted by a Florida state jury, the Department of Justice must complete its investigation of whether George Zimmerman violated the federal civil rights of Trayvon Martin when he encountered, pursued, and fatally shot Trayvon Martin. We hereby call on the Justice Department to complete a full, thorough, and fair investigation of any and all potential civil rights violations in the actions of George Zimmerman on the night of that he killed Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012.”
In a statement New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said: “Sadly, all the facts in this tragic case will probably never be known. But one fact has long been crystal clear: ‘shoot first’ laws like those in Florida can inspire dangerous vigilantism and protect those who act recklessly with guns. Such laws – drafted by gun lobby extremists in Washington – encourage deadly confrontations by enabling people to shoot first and argue ‘justifiable homicide’ later.
“Last year, I joined a broad coalition of civic leaders to shine a light on the impact of ‘shoot first’ laws and work to eliminate them, in Florida and wherever they have been passed. We will continue that work – and the tragic death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed child attempting to walk home from the store, will continue to drive our efforts.”
“How to get away with murder in America – Step 1 – Carry a weapon at all times,” Bertha Lewis, President of The Black Institute said. “Step 2 – Use it to shoot a Black male after you stalk them; Step 3 – Always claim self defense; Step 4 – Lie and keep lying, because Trayvon Benjamin Martin or anyone that looks like him has no right to defend himself. Not in Sanford Florida and not at Fruitvale Station. It is a shame that we live in a country where a young Black man cannot get a fair trial, especially if he is the dead victim.”
Laurie Cumbo, the candidate for the 35th New York City District Council seat said: “Last night’s verdict in the George Zimmerman trial is just another blatant example of how our justice system continues to fail us.
My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to Sybrina Fulton, Tracy Martin and Trayvon Martin’s friends and extended family. In order to prevent another senseless death like Trayvon’s we need to end racial profiling in our country once and for all. Our justice system failed us last night, and we need to examine how we can ensure it never fails us again. We must end our stop and frisk policy here in New York City, we must re think the use of ‘Stand Your Ground’ and as ‘One Brooklyn’ we must work together to better protect our neighborhoods from fatal gun violence. Last night’s verdict allows George Zimmerman to go free for the murder of an innocent child, we must never let this happen again.”
Civil rights advocate and Democratic Candidate for NYC Public Advocate Reshma Saujani said: “Today’s conclusion of the Trayvon Martin murder trial showed us just how wide the racial rift in our country still is. As a civil rights advocate and victim of prejudice at a young age, I am outraged. This trial served as nothing more than a public demonization of an innocent teen.
The killing of an unarmed teen by a vigilante gunman in any community should be treated like the tragedy that it is, but racism instead turned this trial into a gruesome display of character assassination. All children deserve to be treated like human beings, not thugs or criminals, just because of what they look like or are wearing.”
We still have a long way to go as a country, but nothing will get better unless we engage each other as a community about not only our differences, but more importantly our similarities.”