Verdict: Not Guilty
None of the jurors looked over at the defendant when they entered the courtroom with their verdict. None of them looked over at him when they left. But every one of them had decided that George Zimmerman, who had more than one year ago drawn the ire of much of the nation for killing an unarmed black teenager named Trayvon Martin, was not guilty of any crime.
If George Zimmerman Were Black …
… “he never would have been charged with a crime.” That's Zimmerman's defense attorney Mark O'Mara at a press conference that followed the verdict. "This became a focus for a civil-rights event," O'Mara said of the trial, "None of which was borne out by the facts." O'Mara may have been trying to preempt a potential civil-rights suit, which would see his client face criminal charges in a much less lenient federal court, or he may legitimately believe that George Zimmerman was nothing more than a scapegoat in a media-fueled frenzy.
‘For Everybody Who Put Their Hoodies Up …’
Trayvon Martin's parents were not in the courtroom as the verdict came down, but their words echoed across the nation as their lawyer spoke on their behalf. "To everybody who said 'I am Trayvon,'" attorney Benjamin Crump said, "his family expresse[s] their heartfelt gratitude for helping them these past 17 months." Crump then directed his remarks toward Trayvon's parents, telling them that their "tireless work in the name of your son has made Sanford [Florida] and many other cities just a little safer for all our children."
‘Stand Up, Fight Back’
Moments after the verdict was read, crowds outside the Sanford, Florida, courtroom reacted in protest, shouting slogans like "No justice, no peace" and "Stand up, fight back." Other than reports of vandalism in Oakland on Sunday, protests around the country have been peaceful. "For Trayvon to rest in peace," Martin-family lawyer Benjamin Crump said after the verdict, "we must all be peaceful."
Sharpton: ‘This Is an Atrocity’
The verdict is "a slap in the face to those who believe in justice in this country," said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who led the fight to bring George Zimmerman to trial and helped turn Trayvon Martin's name into a national symbol. "This is an atrocity."
Zimmerman's Brother: Trayvon Caused His Own Death
George Zimmerman's brother, Robert Jr., told Piers Morgan Saturday night that Trayvon Martin was responsible for his own death. "By breaking his [George's] nose and pummeling his head into the concrete and continuing to punch him," Robert said, "unfortunately, he [Trayvon] had the greater hand in his own demise." And just so that he was clear, he repeated himself: Trayvon "caus[ed], by his own hand, his death."