What is next for George Zimmerman, or for the country, now that George Zimmerman has been acquitted? After a day of deliberation, the all-female 6-person jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of all charges in the killing of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in an incident that occurred in February 2012. Already, just days later, the country is shaking from the consequences of this acquittal.
Here is the fallout and what’s next in the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin saga:
1. The NAACP Looks to Charge Zimmerman
The African-American Activist group the NAACP, is now looking to pursue civil rights charges against Zimmerman as well as involve the Department of Justice in the case. NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock released a statement on the organization’s website saying:
Today, justice failed Trayvon Martin and his family. We call immediately for the Justice Department to conduct an investigation into the civil rights violations committed against Trayvon Martin. This case has re-energized the movement to end racial profiling in the United States.
The NAACP started a petition that urged the Justice Department to open an investigation. The petition (which you can see or sign here) got over 350,000 signatures in only a few hours yesterday. The surge to sign was so intense that the NAACP website crashed briefly yesterday due to the increased traffic.
2. Zimmerman Sues NBC Over Coverage
Just one day before his trial was sent into deliberation, George Zimmerman sued NBC for defamation. The suite was triggered by NBC’s coverage of the incident in which Trayvon Martin was killed in February 2012.
A recording of Zimmerman’s 911 call was edited so that two different statements were combined, making it sounded as if Zimmerman told the dispatcher, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.” It leaves out the dispatcher’s question in between the statement which asked if the suspicious person was, “black, white or Hispanic.”
According to the Washington Post, Zimmerman is suing for an undisclosed amount of money.
3. Zimmerman Wants to Go to Law School
After his first legal battle, with many more assuredly on the way, apparently George Zimmerman has developed an interest in the law. According to Reuters, close friends of Zimmerman have said that he is considering going to law school. They quoted him as saying, “I’d like to help other people like me.”
Before the incident with Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman was an insurance investigator who went to community college to pursue a degree in criminal justice. However, Zimmerman was only one credit shy of an associate’s degree when he was, “kicked out of school because he posed a danger to the campus,” according to Reuters.
4. Protests Have Rocked the Country
In cities across the United States, especially New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Oakland, and Sanford, Florida, people took to the streets to express solidarity with the deceased Trayvon Martin, and to cry for justice for his killer. Marchers blocked off traffic as they marched through the cities shouting slogans like “No justice, no peace,” and “Hey hey ho ho racial profiling has got to go.”
5. Obama Says ‘A Jury Has Spoken’
President Obama expressed his sadness over the death of Trayvon Martin, but did not bemoan Zimmerman’s acquittal saying, “But we are a national of laws, and a jury has spoken.” The president also asked for calm in a time when he knows emotions are running high. You can read his whole statement below:
The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America. I know this case has elicited strong passions. 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. I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son. And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities. We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis. We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that’s a job for all of us. That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin.