STAY CALM Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
A day after a Florida jury found George Zimmerman not guilty in the death of Trayvon Martin, President Obama urged the country to respect the verdict. "I know this case has elicited strong passions," Obama said in a statement. "And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken." The president asked that people "widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities." He also encouraged the general public to think about ways to stop gun violence and prevent future tragedies.
George Zimmerman was found not guilty on Saturday night.
VERDICT Pool photo by Gary W. Green
George Zimmerman was found not guilty on Saturday night of all charges relating to the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The jury had deliberated for 16 hours before reaching a verdict. Earlier in the day, the panel of six women asked for clarification on possible manslaughter charges, but were told to ask a more focused question and instead decided to keep deliberating. They came back with their verdict around 9 p.m, acquitting Zimmerman of both second-degree murder and manslaughter. Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watch volunteer, had confessed to shooting the teenager but claimed it was self-defense. However, Zimmerman may not yet be out of the woods, legally speaking. The Justice Department issued a statement on Sunday that indicates it will be reviewing whether Zimmerman can be prosecuted under federal criminal civil rights statutes. "Experienced federal prosecutors will determine whether ... prosecution is appropriate in accordance with the Department’s policy governing successive federal prosecution following a state trial," the statement said.
FIGHTING WORDS Abir Sultan/AP
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Iran needs to know that Western powers will use their militaries to stop the country from gaining nuclear weapons. "They have to know you’ll be prepared to take military action," Netanyahu said on CBS's Face the Nation. "That’s the only thing that will get their attention." The prime minister also said that newly elected Iranian President Hassan Rowhani was a "wolf in sheep's clothing" who won't stop the country from obtaining nuclear weapons. Iran, according to Netanyahu, is nearing the red line he laid out in a speech to the U.N. last fall, and Israel may be forced to act, because it's closer and more vulnerable to a nuclear Iran than the United States is.
TENSION Mario Tama/Getty Images
More than 1,000 protesters gathered in New York City's Union Square area on Sunday to protest the not guilty verdict in George Zimmerman's murder trial. They shouted slogans like "No justice, no peace" and marched toward Times Square, slowing traffic all around the city. Police tried to contain the protesters, but couldn't keep them funneled into controlled lanes. A smaller protest of about 500 people broke out in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood, and around 100 people protested in Oakland, where an American flag was reportedly burned and windows were smashed. Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012 but claimed it was done in self-defense.
IN OTHER NEWS Joe Raedle/Getty
It used to be that the content of Radio Free Europe, Voice of America, and other content produced by the Broadcasting Board of Governors couldn't be transmitted in the United States at broadcast-quality levels because it was considered propaganda. But that all changed as of July 2, when the content, which reaches 100 countries in 60 different languages, became available in the United States. Part of the reason for the change was so ex-pats living in America could get access to the programming and part of it was so taxpayers can see what their money is being spent on. Decades ago, lawmakers blocked the content in the U.S. because they feared journalism produced by the government would have a corrosive effect on the public.
GETTING WELL Ben Curtis/AP
Nelson Mandela could be released from the hospital soon to recover at home, South Africa’s former president Thabo Mbeki said Sunday. Mandela, who turns 95 on Thursday, has been hospitalized for more than five weeks for a lung infection, and friends who have visited him say he is on life support. He has been listed as in critical but stable condition.
TRAGIC Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty
Glee star Cory Monteith, 31, was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room Saturday. The cause of death has yet to be determined, though police have ruled out foul play. Monteith checked into the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel on July 6, and reportedly spent the evening out with friends on Friday, but surveillance footage shows the star returned to his room by himself early in the morning. On Sunday, Glee co-star Matthew Morrison dedicated his show at 54 Below to Monteith, expressing saddness for his passing.
TRAYVON MARTIN CASE Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images
Now that he's been cleared of a murder charge, George Zimmerman will get his gun back, according to his laywer. Attorney Mark O'Mara said that Zimmerman needs the weapon now because "there are a lot of people out there who actually hate him." O'Mara also said that Zimmerman doesn't regret carrying his Kel Tec 9 pistol on February 26, 2012, even though it lead to Trayvon Martin's death. "I think that he feels truly in his heart that if he did not have that weapon that night he might not be here," O'Mara said. Zimmerman, whose father was a judge, is now reportedly thinking about going to law school so that he can help people who have been unfairly prosecuted. "I'd like to help other people like me," a friend quoted Zimmerman as saying.
ANGRY John Raoux/AP
At least four California cities held protests Saturday night in reaction to George Zimmerman’s acquittal earlier in the evening, with violence reported in Oakland. Police said about 100 people demonstrated, with some in the crowd breaking windows and setting street fires. No arrests have been reported. In San Francisco, protesters marched in the city’s Mission District, while about 200 people gathered in Los Angeles in the city’s historically black neighborhood of Leimert Park, and about 40 people gathered at Sacramento's City Hall. The LAPD declared a modified tactical alert on Saturday, meaning officers could be held over their regular shift and would not respond to low-priority radio calls. Zimmerman was found not guilty Saturday night in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year.
YIKES Michael Buckner / Getty Images Entertainment
Anna Benson, the troubled ex-wife of former Mets pitcher Kris Benson, was implicated in a murder in 1996—and the subject of a subsequent manhunt, New York’s Daily News reported on Sunday. According to the News, Benson was a 19-year-old known as Anna Warren living in Tennessee in an apartment described as “filthy” and covered with graffiti with her then-boyfriend Paul Dejongh, also 19. The lifeless body of 18-year-old Michael Evans was found in the apartment, with the pair apparently having fled. Benson was captured five months later and charged, first with murder and then with being an accessory, but both charges were dropped. After Dejongh was captured, he told police that Benson had told him to “get rid of” Evans before Dejongh shot him twice in the head. Benson, who once starred on the reality show Baseball Wives, currently faces charges of allegedly trying to rob her ex-husband at gunpoint.
BLOODY Alvaro Barrientos/AP
An Australian woman was gored in the thorax on Saturday during the final bull run in Spain’s San Sermin festival, local officials said. Four others were injured with cuts and bruises. All five have been hospitalized. The 23-year-old Australian victim’s name has not yet been released, but officials said she was struck by a massive Miura bull as she held onto the wooden barriers outside the bull ring entrance.
TOP COPS Patrick Semansky/AP
Rep. Mike McCaul, the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, on Sunday floated three possible people to replace outgoing chief Janet Napolitano: William Bratton, Thad Allen, and Ray Kelly. Allen is retired Coast Guard commandant, Kelly is the NYPD commissioner, and William Bratton has led police departments in New York, Los Angeles, and Boston. Janet Napolitano announced on Friday that she is leaving her post to become president of the University of California system. On Fox News Sunday, McCaul said he “respected” Napolitano’s work but said they had disagreements on many issues “particularly around the border.”
UH-OH Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images
It's been a rough couple of days for the sport of track and field. A trio of track superstars has tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Tyson Gay, the American record holder in the 100m dash, admitted to failing a drug test, saying "I basically put my trust in someone and I was let down." He has already withdrawn from next month's World Championships in Moscow. Asafa Powell, the former 100m world record holder, and sprinter Sherone Simpson, a silver medalist in the Olympic 4x100m relay, also tested positive.
Seth Ferranti, federal inmate 18205-083 and a writer for The Daily Beast, The Fix, and elsewhere has been held in the Special Housing Unit, or solitary confinement, at FCC Forrest City in Arkansas since Thursday June 4—evidently as punishment for his journalism. After beginning a 304-month sentence as an “LSD Kingpin” under mandatory minimum sentencing laws in 1993, the first-time, nonviolent offender began reporting from “inside the belly of the beast.”
“They have not notified me what I am in here for yet, and it's been a week of lockdown in a 6-foot by 9-foot cell,” Ferranti says in a letter written with a dull pencil—the only writing implement he’s allowed—and sent to The Fix, which shared it with The Daily Beast. In it, he asks that his work remain published and suggests that The Fix publish a piece, “using excerpts from this letter,” called “Drug Treatment Writer Snatched Out of Treatment for Writing About It.”
“I have violated no rules, only written for publication,” Ferranti writes, adding that he’s spending “the long hours of nothingness writing or doing something productive.” In the letter, he asks that anyone wishing to inquire about or object to the “violation of my first amendment rights” contact:
South Central Regional Office
Federal Bureau of Prisons
U.S. Armed Forces Reserve Complex
344 Marine Forces Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 75051
The Federal Bureau of Prisons did not answer numerous calls for comment about Ferranti.
YIKES Nick Ut/AP
Six people have been fired Los Angeles’s Cedars-Sinai Hospital for inappropriately accessing medical files between June 18 and 24—the days following the birth of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s daughter, North—the hospital said on Friday. The hospital declined to name the patients whose records were accessed, but said the patients affected had been informed. Representatives from Kardashian and West have not yet responded, although TMZ reports Kardashian was informed of the security breach. Five workers accessed a single patient’s record, while the other accessed 14.
MUGGLES Joel Ryan/AP
Even Hermoine might have been fooled by this one. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling was unmasked Sunday as the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling, a detective novel published in April. Writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, the book had received rave reviews, but the Sunday Times launched an investigation into how a “first-time author with a background in the civilian security industry could write such an assured debut novel.” The paper noticed similarities between the novel and Rowling’s other work—and that the publisher, Little, Brown, had also published Rowling’s first adult work. Her publicist confirmed her identity on Sunday to the rest of us Muggles.
CASUALTIES Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP
At least two suspected militants were killed in a drone strike in Pakistan’s North Waziristan, local officials said Sunday. One official called the two men killed “probably Arab nationalists,” but their identities are still not known. This is the third drone strike since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took office last month, and the attacks remain deeply unpopular in Pakistan. Drone strikes began in 2004 and sometimes come with heavy civilian causalities, although it’s difficult to be sure of the toll due to the lawlessness of Pakistan’s northern tribal region.
SURPRISE SURPRISE Carolyn Kaster/AP
It’s a whole new ballgame in Montana. Former Democratic governor Brian Schweitzer announced Saturday that he would not seek the state’s open Senate seat—throwing the race back into play for Republicans once again. Veteran Democrat Max Baucus announced in April that he would be retiring, and many had favored Schweitzer for the seat—especially since the state is vulnerable for Democrats. Schweitzer has been courted by Democratic leaders, but they apparently soured on him in recent weeks after doing research into Schweitzer’s past. But Republicans need just six seats to overtake the Senate, and Baucus’s retirement coupled with that of two other Democrats in red states—West Virginia and South Dakota—could throw the Senate into a GOP majority.
GIANT MOMENT Lenny Ignelzi/AP
Tim Lincecum certainly earned the All Star break. The Giants’ pitcher threw a no-hitter Saturday night, leading the team to a 9-0 victory against the San Diego Padres. It’s Lincecum’s first no-hitter in the major leagues—in fact, his first no-hitter since high school. He struck out 13—including six in a row from the second to fourth innings—and threw 148 total pitches, allowing four walks. “He had that eye-of-the-tiger look,” manager Bruce Bochy said.