News / USA

Obama Urges Calm in Wake of Zimmerman Verdict

Zimmerman Shooting Verdict Prompts Pointed Reactions

x
  • 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

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid