Zimmerman Verdict Sparks Outrage But Not Shock
Stacy M. Brown | , Barrington M. Salmon | 7/13/2013, 10:02 p.m. | Updated on 7/14/2013, 12:18 p.m.
"We do not want to compound the crisis with more violence," Jackson said.
Closing arguments in the case began Thursday, July 11, 24 days after the trial began, and the jury started deliberating the next day. At the close of the trial, jurors were told by Judge Debra Nelson they could consider the lesser charge of manslaughter.
"No matter what the outcome of this trial is, there must be calm in the middle of this storm," Southern Christian Leadership Council Conference President R.L. Gundy said Saturday before the verdict was read. "There must be peace and not war. There must be love and not hate — no matter what the outcome of this trial is."
Kevin G. Cunningham — a graduate of Howard University Law School whose online petition demanding that authorities prosecute Zimmerman garnered more than 2 million signatures — said he's disgusted with the criminal justice system.
"I can't say I'm horribly surprised," said Cunningham, whose desire for social engagement and awareness came from his Irish activist parents. "The police conducted a shoddy investigation, and the officers who testified sounded like defense witnesses."
Further, Cunningham said, two of the women didn't belong on the jury, particularly the one who called a demonstration on behalf of Trayvon a riot.
"It's certainly not done," he said. "The NAACP is circulating a petition seeking to repeal the 'Stand Your Ground' law, but chances of that happening are extremely, extremely unlikely. People are talking about repealing 'Stand Your Ground' but that's a red herring. It's the unspoken apartheid within the criminal justice system that we have to confront. They say people are going to be treated the same but people are treated differently and we accept it.
"The drug war is racially neutral on its face but it's not," Cunningham said. "I'm mad at the whole system. We win little battles, win some and lose some."