ORLANDO, Fla. – The attorney for the family of Trayvon Martin, the teen who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, spoke Monday morning at the NAACP National Convention going on this week in Orlando.
“After the verdict was rendered, if you ever wondered whether we need the NAACP today, the question has been answered loud and clear,” said Benjamin Crump.
Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder on Saturday by a six-person jury after a nearly month-long trial.
Crump spoke about Martin’s mother’s reaction to the “not guilty” verdict in Zimmerman’s trial.
“After the verdict, it was devastating. It broke their hearts again. Sabrina (Trayvon’s mother) cried and prayed and cried again,” Crump said.
Crump urged the crowds to stay vocal and vigilant during the Department of Justice investigation into a possible civil rights violation, such as a hate crime.
NAACP President Ben Jealous said on Sunday he will be meeting with the Department of Justice officials this week to discuss the possibility of civil rights charges against Zimmerman.
The Department of Justice said Sunday it would review the Martin-Zimmerman case to determine if it should consider prosecuting Zimmerman, who was acquitted Friday.
“Experienced federal prosecutors will determine whether the evidence reveals a prosecutable violation of any of the limited federal criminal civil rights statutes within our jurisdiction, and whether federal prosecution is appropriate in accordance with the Department’s policy governing successive federal prosecution following a state trial,” the DOJ said.
NAACP Chairman Roslyn Brock spoke to Local 6 Sunday afternoon and was candid in her reaction to the not guilty verdict of George Zimmerman.
“We can’t get to how you walk home in the rain from a local convenience store to being dead on the ground,” she said. “Our community was prepared for a manslaughter conviction, we would accept that, but to have Mr. Zimmerman exonerated of all charges?”
As more than 4,000 members gathered at the annual NAACP Convention in Orlando, many of the scheduled meetings have turned into lengthy discussions about the Zimmerman verdict. The NAACP had been calling on the Department of Justice to file civil rights charges against Zimmerman which they say were violated the night he took Martin’s life.
“We’re hopeful Mr. Zimmerman is brought to justice, that in American society it means something to take the life of an unarmed 17-year-old male in this community.”
But Mark O’ Mara, the attorney for George Zimmerman, said the trial was not about race, it was about self-defense.
“Obviously, we are ecstatic with the results. George Zimmerman was never guilty of anything except protecting himself in self-defense,” O’Mara said.
The NAACP has already received 225,000 signatures, just hours after the verdict. The petition now stands at almost 400,000 signatures.
Roslyn Brock said the petition is just the beginning.
“We’re standing resolute in our theme that we will not be moved, we have to do something to make justice in America equal.”
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