News / USA

Obama Urges Calm in Wake of Zimmerman Verdict

  • Jaylen Reese, 12, of Atlanta, marches during a protest of George Zimmerman's not guilty verdict in the 2012 shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin, Atlanta, Georgia, July 15, 2013.
  • Protesters march during a demonstration in reaction to the acquittal of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, Baltimore, Maryland, July 15, 2013.
  • Police confront a crowd of demonstrators on the Interstate 10 freeway as they protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin trial, Los Angeles, California July 14, 2013.
  • A woman yells slogans as demonstrators demand justice for Trayvon Martin while marching to Times Square from New York's Union Square, July 14, 2013.
  • Throngs of marches gather in Times Square to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman, New York, July 14, 2013.
  • Demonstrators march through the Lower East Side in New York holding a cut-out of Trayvon Martin during a protest against the acquittal of George Zimmerman, July 14, 2013.
  • Protesters converge on Union Square for a protest against the acquittal of George Zimmerman, New York, July 14, 2013.
  • A crowd begins a short march for Trayvon Martin in Miami, Florida, July 14, 2013.
  • People hold up newspapers and their clinched fists at a gathering to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman, Newark, New Jersey, July 14, 2013.
  • A man holds newspapers as another lies on the street, while a large crowd gathers at an intersection to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman, Newark, New Jersey, July 14, 2013.
Zimmerman Shooting Verdict Prompts Pointed Reactions
VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama appealed for calm on Sunday, after a Florida jury acquitted a volunteer neighborhood patrolman of murder in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager.

In a written statement, Obama called the death of Trayvon Martin a tragedy for his family and for America.  But in urging quiet reflection, he said "we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken."

The acquittal of watchman George Zimmerman late Saturday by a six-woman jury dominated television news and the Internet on Sunday, sparking community protests and raising the national debate about race and crime fighting in America.

Protesters gathered in New York, Los Angeles and other metropolitan areas such as Boston and San Francisco. The demonstrators remained peaceful, but called for justice in the face of what they saw as a race-based verdict.  Some protests continued into the night and early Monday, with demonstrators blocking a major highway in Los Angeles for a half hour.

The 17-year-old Martin was killed last year in a struggle with armed community watchman Zimmerman, who is Hispanic. The death left many Americans saying Martin was targeted because he was black and walking at night in a gated, largely white community.

The U.S. Justice Department said Sunday it is evaluating evidence in the case to determine whether to pursue prosecution of Zimmerman under federal statutes.

State Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda says he was disappointed by the ruling, but will respect the jury's decision.

Immediately after the verdict, Martin's supporters - including his family members - took to social media to express their displeasure with the decision. Spontaneous protests sprang up in several cities, including thousands of kilometers away from Florida in San Francisco.  

Zimmerman's defense lawyer, Mark O'Mara, said he was ecstatic with the results. "George Zimmerman was never guilty of anything except protecting himself in self-defense. I'm glad that the jury saw it that way."

Zimmerman was driving in his neighborhood February 26, 2012 when he saw Martin and called police.  Zimmerman - a neighborhood volunteer - got out of his vehicle and followed Martin.  A confrontation and struggle followed, ending with Zimmerman shooting Martin.

The case made national news after it was revealed that Zimmerman was not charged for more than six weeks after the shooting, because police did not contest his claim that he shot Martin in self-defense.

The prosecution said Zimmerman profiled the teen and followed him because he assumed Martin was intent on making trouble. Zimmerman said he acted in self-defense once he and Martin entered into a struggle, with Martin banging Zimmerman's head against the concrete pavement.

Watch: related video report by Kane Farabaugh

Protests, Rallies Staged Nationwide in Wake of Zimmerman Verdicti
X
July 15, 2013 10:27 AM
Almost immediately after the verdict came down acquitting George Zimmerman of murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, people used social media and public rallies to express their opinion of the outcome. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more from Chicago, Illinois.

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs