George Zimmerman acquitted in Trayvon Martin case
George Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder on Saturday. The Sanford neighbourhood watch leader was accused of shooting the unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin.
Martin, 17, attacked Zimmerman, 29, on the night of the 26th February 2012. Zimmerman claimed he had shot the teenager in self-defence, citing a fear for his life as the reason for firing at Mr. Martin.
The unanimous verdict followed 16 hours of deliberations by the panel at the Seminole County criminal justice centre in Sanford. The trial lasted three weeks and saw 56 witnesses testify.
The case has become a fixture in national debates regarding race, civil rights and gun laws across the United States.
Zimmerman was not apprehended until six weeks following the incident and it was claimed that the police were ready to assume he had carried out the act in self defence. Sanford’s police chief resigned as a result of these claims.
The outcome of the trial has been met with fury from supporters of the deceased teenager and his family. Angry, banner-wielding friends of the Martin family gathered during the day to express their dismay.
“Today, justice failed Trayvon Martin and his family,” Roslyn Brock, chair of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said in a statement.
“We call immediately for the Justice Department to conduct an investigation into the civil rights violations committed against Trayvon Martin. This case has re-energised the movement to end racial profiling in the United States.”