Demand for fed charges in Martin case

2013-07-16 22:03
Gallery  |  click on thumbnail to view larger image

Protests over Zimmerman verdict

Thousands marched in New York to protest the acquittal of George Zimmeran after his trial for killing unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin. See the pictures.

Orlando - The not guilty verdict in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin has reshaped a black civil rights convention in Orlando, Florida where delegates are calling for federal charges following a trial they say failed to serve justice.

The civil rights activists were gathering for the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) just 30 minutes drive from where the murder trial took place when the jury issued its decision on Saturday night.

The verdict by a nearly all-white jury of six women in the trial of former neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman reverberated around the country and rocked the convention of 3 000 national, state and local officers and members.

Speeches were hastily re-written, agendas altered and conversation in the halls re-focused.

More than 800 000 people have signed an online petition of the NAACP asking US Attorney General Eric Holder to file civil rights charges against Zimmerman, the association said on Monday.

"It was like an atomic bomb dropped," said Michael Edwards, 55, a union official and NAACP member from St Louis.

On Tuesday the convention will hear from Holder, who on Monday called the death of Martin, an unarmed black teenager, "unnecessary," raising questions about whether he believed Zimmerman, acted in self-defence.

"The Justice Department shares your concern," Holder said, triggering an enthusiastic response from some 14 000 black sorority members at a Washington convention centre.

The Justice Department said it would reopen its investigation into the case to determine whether any civil rights laws had been violated by the state court handling it.

Grief counsellors

The Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 would require the government to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman, who is white and Hispanic, shot Martin because of race.

The Seminole County jury in the town of Sanford, Florida rejected the second degree murder charge that Zimmerman acted with ill will, spite or hatred.

Ben Jealous, the NAACP's president, said he cried when he heard of the Zimmerman verdict Saturday night in the Orlando hotel suite where he was meeting with his board and staff. He put his one-year-old son to bed and rushed to comfort the thousand black youth attending the convention this week.

At a nearby hotel, the high school and college delegates, the future of the 104-year-old civil rights organization, reacted viscerally. Jealous found some tears, some anger and some hard to read faces. Grief counsellors were enlisted to help.

Jealous had intended for his keynote speech to address the body blow delivered on 25 June by the US Supreme Court in repealing provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1965 which required federal pre-clearance of changes of voting practices in jurisdictions with a history of voting discrimination.

Instead, the speech he delivered reflected the second blow delivered by the jury.

"These are not only times of great possibility, they are also times of great peril. We hear it in the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County v Holder. We see it in the verdict handed down in Sanford two nights ago. And we feel it every time we watch one of our young sons - or nephews - walk out the front door and pull up his hoodie over his head," Jealous said.

Jealous also highlighted efforts to ban New York's controversial "stop-and-frisk" policy used by police to stop people suspected of unlawful activity and frisking those suspected of carrying weapons.

Critics of the policy say it targets minorities and violates their Fourth Amendment rights for protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

A child was shot today

Lenwood Graham, 18, a high school senior from Laurinberg, North Carolina, said youth leaders at the convention talked to them about "how we should not let our anger or emotions cloud our judgement and make wrong decisions."

"I just want to change laws," he said.

Christian Minter, 15, a high school sophomore from Chatham, Pennsylvania, said she now understands her mother's unyielding belief that the world would always be divided along racial lines.

"I thought it wouldn't. It [the verdict] told me it would always be like that," Minter said.

Tony Henderson, 52, an engineer from Seattle worked with youth participating in the convention's annual arts and science competition which in years past has drawn the likes of successful rappers and music producers such as Kanye West and Lauryn Hill.

"The kids thought it isn't like it used to be. This told them it is what it used to be," Henderson said.

The youth delegates rolled out a campaign against violence against black youth with the slogan "A child was shot today," modelled on signs hoisted in another era at NAACP offices that read "A man was lynched yesterday."

Read more on:    trayvon martin  |  us
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
58 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.