After more than 16 hours of deliberation over two days, a Florida jury has found George Zimmerman not guilty in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
He is not guilty of murder, and not guilty of manslaughter.
Trayvon’s parents were not present for the reading of the verdict.
Here’s a video of the moment, via Mediaite:
Before the decision of the jury — six people, all women — was made this evening, there was widespread worry that a not-guilty verdict could spark race riots.
Unfortunately there is a feeling riots are about to erupt due to the Zimmerman verdict .
— Anonymous Press (@AnonymousPress) July 14, 2013
Live TV reports are already airing protesters chanting outside the courthouse, with chants including “Nationwide protest! Nationwide protest!”
And disturbing tweets like this are flooding Twitter:
George W. Zimmerman 159 Edgewater Circle. Sanford, Florida. 32773 y'all know what to do…
— Dory (@itsDorry) July 14, 2013
Florida State Attorney Angela Corey and the prosecution lawyers just held a press conference in which she appeared strangely cheery and said that now that the case is over and the facts are on the table, the public can draw their own conclusions about what happened.
— Rick Sanchez (@RickSanchezTV) July 14, 2013
Zimmerman’s lawyers also spoke publicly. Don West (below) said, “I think the prosecution of George Zimmerman was disgraceful. I’m thrilled the jury kept this tragedy from becoming a travesty.”
He also joked about the infamous ice cream photo that got him and his daughter in hot water (story below) and defended the infamous knock-knock joke he used to open the trial.
Don West’s co-counsel, Mark O’Mara, said “If George Zimmerman was black, he never would have been charged with a crime … This became a focus for a civil rights event … but they decided that George Zimmerman would be the person they could blame. … There is still a fringe element who has said … that they want revenge.”
O’Mara also blamed the media for taking a story that was “fed to you, and you ran with it.” He said prosecutors charged Zimmerman with a crime they “could never, ever prove.”
As the lawyers’ comments did nothing to quell the danger of looming riots, Newark (New Jersey) Mayor Cory Booker took to Twitter with peace-loving words of Martin Luther King:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Martin Luther King, Jr.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) July 14, 2013
A statement made on behalf of Trayvon’s family, by family attorney Benjamin Crump (below), thanked everyone who “put their hoodies up” … and to “everybody who said ‘I am Trayvon,’ his family expresses their heartfelt gratitude.”
When asked by a reporter whether Zimmerman would have been charged if he were black — similar to the question fielded by Don West above, Crump avoided a direct answer.
Family lawyers said they advised Trayvon’s parents to avoid the courtroom during the verdict, sending them home to get ready for church on Sunday.
FROM TRAYVON'S MOM: "Lord during my darkest hour I lean on you. You are all that I have. At the end of the day, GOD is still in control."
— Rob Nelson (@TVRobNelson) July 14, 2013