In the video below, Benjamin Jealous, President of the NAACP, speaks about pressing forward with federal civil rights charges in the case against George Zimmerman.
The NAACP Department of Justice petition is back online here if you haven't signed yet. That petition quickly gathered 275,000 signatures in the first evening, the hits so numerous that the website shut down; now that it is back up and running, last official reports put signings at over 1 million.
One of the jurors in the Zimmerman case has now given an Anderson Cooper interview (part one here, part two here) talking about, incidentally, among other things in the case, plans to write a book about it. This juror was decidedly in favor of Zimmerman's acquittal, describing Trayvon Martin's killer as a man "with a heart in the right place."
Mr. Jealous speaks about that interview, the exclusion of African American jurors, as well as the preclusion of any evidence of or discussion about racial profiling by the court - including evidence of racial profiling by Zimmerman (for example, a cousin reportedly told police that Zimmerman had a history expressing racist sentiments; the jury wasn't allowed access to this information) - and the impact of those decisions on the outcome of the jury's verdict. The interviewed juror said that 3 jurors were originally in favor of a guilty verdict, with two in favor of manslaughter and one in favor of 2nd degree murder. Yet they were swayed to an extremely different verdict, and in relatively short period, 16 hours. (With the juror saying they didn't discuss race issues at all during that period - and that she didn't see race playing any role in Zimmerman's perceptions as neighborhood watchman.) Mr. Jealous touches on these points, along with what he describes as a highly effective defense strategy consisting of, basically shutting out the entire context of the incident, and bringing everything to bear on this so-called lawn tussle. Creating a tunnel vision jury, in a manner of speaking, blogger-wise.
In another video below, Jaisal Noor reports on nationwide protests against the verdict, speaking to demonstrators in
Baltimore where organizers called for 3 days of protests decrying the acquittal. Protesters talked about similar cases, being parents, a teacher or a child affected by the court outcome, as well as racial profiling, gun laws, Trayvon's right to self-defense, and being there "for all the Trayvon Martins."
One African American mother standing with her sons, described the outcome as “a step
backward” for the nation. Eventually unable to hold back her tears while speaking to the reporter about the injustice of the verdict, she declared, “it’s going to take the People, the
citizens of the United States of America to get past this.”
Many demonstrators expressed fears and concerns about Zimmerman still carrying his gun, along with a perceived message sent by the court system
that it was now “open season on black boys.” Another mother at the Baltimore demonstrations stated, “the verdict set a precedent for anyone with hate in
their heart to go out and methodically set up a situation where they can kill
someone and then call it ‘self-defense.’”
Pointing to her Justice 4 Trayvon protest sign with a photograph of Trayvon along with
3 other young men of color, the demonstrator continued, “These three young men
are my sons. And they are Trayvon
Martin. […] And that’s why I’m here. For
justice. For everyone.”
*Photo credit/Via Baltimore Brew/Photographer: Fern Shen/Children from Chesapeake, Virginia protest the verdict in Baltimore.
4 other jurors have signed a statement submitted to press through the court saying that the juror who provided an interview to Anderson Cooper spoke only for herself, and did not speak for them.