More than 60 people gathered on the steps of the state Capitol this morning to protest the jury’s decision to clear George Zimmerman in the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
The protesters, many wearing hoodies, stood in silence for four minutes — the amount of time it took Martin to bleed out after he was shot, according to protest organizer Corrie Terry.
Following the period of silence, the group sang Ella’s song by Bernice Johnson Reagon, which has the refrain: “We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.”
Individual protesters addressed the group, demanding that justice be served and relaying their fears for their own children.
Neighborhood watch captain Zimmerman was cleared of all charges Saturday night in the shooting of the unarmed black teenager whose killing unleashed furious debate across the U.S. over racial profiling, self-defense and equal justice.
Zimmerman wasn’t arrested for 44 days after the Feb. 26, 2012, shooting as police in Sanford insisted that Florida’s “stand your ground” law on self-defense prohibited them from bringing charges. Florida gives people wide latitude to use deadly force if they fear death or bodily harm.
Demonstrations large and small broke out across the country — ranging from a few dozen to more than a thousand — in support of the family of Trayvon Martin as protesters decried the not-guilty verdict as a miscarriage of justice.
The Justice Department said it is looking into the case to determine whether federal prosecutors should file criminal civil rights charges now that Zimmerman has been acquitted in the state case.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama and religious and civil rights leaders urged calm in hopes of ensuring peaceful demonstrations in the wake of a case that became an emotional flash point.
Associated Press material was included in this report