Petitions gain signatures after Zimmerman verdict
July 15th, 2013
09:44 AM ET
1 year ago

Petitions gain signatures after Zimmerman verdict

Updated at 3:55 p.m. ET on 7/15

(CNN) - Two petitions posted on the White House's public website over the weekend urge President Barack Obama to recommend that the Justice Department begin a federal civil rights prosecution of George Zimmerman, who was found not guilty Saturday in the Florida killing of teenager Trayvon Martin. Combined, the petitions have garnered more than 15,000 signatures since they were created on Sunday.

Additionally, petitions sponsored by the NAACP urging federal action in the Zimmerman case had garnered almost 800,000 signatures as of Monday afternoon. That documents ask Attorney General Eric Holder to “Please address the travesties of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin by acting today."

The group’s website crashed for several hours Sunday between 11 a.m. ET and 1:30 p.m. ET because of the crush of people trying to respond. NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous said on CNN Sunday his group had spoken with Justice Department officials about pursuing civil rights changes against Zimmerman.

Petitions posted on the White House's "We the People" site need 100,000 signatures in 30 days to elicit a response from the administration. The more popular of the two Zimmerman-related petitions, which has received more than 13,000 signatures alone, is on pace to easily reach that mark. It calls on Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute "George Zimmerman for depriving Trayvon Martin of his Constitutional Rights of Life and Liberty."

Obama issued a statement on the verdict Sunday afternoon, less than 24 hours after the jury concluded deliberations.

"I know this case has elicited strong passions," Obama said in his statement. "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."

The Justice Department opened an investigation into the Zimmerman case earlier this year, and has been working with the FBI and Florida officials to determine if there were any violations of federal law. According to a department spokesperson, that investigation is ongoing and will now include evidence and testimony from the state's trial.

CNN's Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.


Filed under: Florida • White House
soundoff (149 Responses)
  1. Data Driven

    And if the prosecution had pursued Murder Two instead of Murder One, we might not be filling out petitions. Zimmerman would likely have been convicted on Murder Two.

    Another Florida fail!

    July 15, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  2. Ray E. (Georgia)

    The Evidence in the trial shows George Zimmerman's civil rights were voilated by Travon Martin. Case Closed.

    July 15, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    I want to be optimistic that the Justice Department will take this matter up, but I highly doubt it. It's an uphill climb trying to prosecute a civil rights case when the accused has already been acquitted. Albeit. it's worth a try.

    July 15, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  4. GAVoter

    Good. I signed both.

    July 15, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  5. Southeast

    He killed someone who was minding their own business.

    July 15, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  6. Alan800

    The FBI already investigated the case Why didn't they charge him before the trial

    July 15, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    I don't understand how prosecutors overlooked, or otherwise ignored, the significance of the testimony by the gun expert about the gun. The gun was one of the cheapest of its' type. The gun required two hands to arm, and could not be armed with one hand.

    When GZ claims to have pulled the gun out, he did so laying flat on his back. How the ground did not block his elbow as did this in midst of a head bashing, I guess we will never know. The gun had no safety, which strongly suggests that GZ NEVER put the armed weapon inside of his waist band. I believe GZ had the gun drawn when he first encountered Martin. I believe those screams on the 911 call are Martin screaming for help because someone had a gun and wanted to kill him.

    Lastly, I recall that the gun expert testified that the only way to unload a round once it was loaded was to fire the weapon. This would suggest that when GZ armed that weapon that he was now committed to firing it, in order to make it safe again. This speaks directly toward 2nd degree murder.

    July 15, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  8. ????

    Obama has looked foolish when has commented on incidents like the Cambridge, MA police arrest and the Zimmerman case. There is no need for him to stick foot in his mouth again.

    July 15, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  9. Pete

    Zimmerman was acquitted because as usual the state of Floridas prosecutors screwed up again just like in the Casey Anthony case remember even with her daughters blood,DNA was picked up in the trunk of her car she went free didn't she!!Now it'll be taken up by the NAACP, others and again Zimmerman is just like those police officers beating up of Rodney King years ago in California and the state got the acquittal for the officers of using excessive,abusive force and the NAACP got both officers jail time later didn't they after they went after them!!Zimmerman knows the laws having a father an ex magistrate and a cousin a sheriff while Zimmerman himself took classes for law enforcement and even after lying about not knowing the SYG law he was made a liar by his ex law professor who said otherwise in Zimmerman making an A in that class said in testimony on the stand...Remember as I said in other sites dead men tell no tales and that's how Zimmerman got away with it being a premeditated crime to make a nutcase wanne be cop out to be the community hero at Trayvons expense!!

    July 15, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  10. Sniffit

    This article is a study in how to turn something into a nontroversy. Instead of leading with information that the DOJ has already been investigating these things for some time, it leads with blather about the WH petitions. It's specifically designed to encourage Teatrolls to yammer about Obama politicizing the DOJ and its investigations processes and claim that it's only looking into this because Martin was black and blah blah reverse racism yadda yadda.

    July 15, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  11. Rudy NYC

    I believe the facts do not support GZ's version of events. I believe GZ already had his gun drawn, as explained above, when he first encountered TM. And, a struggle for control of that weapon ensued, one which TM lost.

    How could GZ get a bloody nose if TM did not punch him? They bumped heads as they fought for control of the weapon.

    Why weren't TM's fingerprints on the gun? Did GZ simply clean off his now wet and muddy gun when it was over?

    July 15, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  12. Calinomics

    This is not a black vs colored issue. This is about one county in FL failing the people of color within their district. I know this because two people who involved in that incident (TM and GZ) and the one that is dead was drug tested not the admitted shooter. It seems unlikley that the DOJ is going to prosecute this becase of it similarity to double jeapordy, however the fact that this case garnished so much attention and a sure win in a civil suit will make these vigilanties in FL think twice before they shoot an unarmed person.

    July 15, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  13. Keith ..... in Oregon

    Yes, the White House needs to get involved. They, or more specifcally, the President is trying to micro-manage our entire lives and he can't be letting juries listen to the evidence and make their own decisions about guilt or innocemce. Obama and Holder know what's best.

    Some unsolicited advice Mr President. Next time you have something to say about this case, just keep it to yourself.

    July 15, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  14. Data Driven

    Correcting my own post, if it ever shows up:

    I meant Manslaughter, not Murder Two. All this injustice is starting to fry my brain.

    July 15, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  15. 82ndABNVET

    So........let me get this right. He was found NOT GUILTY by a jury of his peers after all the evidence had been provided and each side made its case. But, a fair trial is not good enough now? Now we must also bring the house down on anyone set free by the federal government?

    Granted, you may not like the verdict. I thought it could have gone either way. It just so happens that the jury, whom are the ones responsible for determining a person's guilt, found him to not be guilty of either crime (2nd Degree Murder or Manslaughter) he was able to be convicted of.

    I had much more anger at an not guilty verdict on Casey Anthony. This case was self defense. And, while I do not agree with Zimmerman getting out of his car to follow Martin, it is what it is.

    You cannot just conjure up witnesses or facts. No one actually saw when the shot was fired. People saw before and after, but not durring. Everyone knew (those that were not emotionally tied to the case) that this was going to be a very hard case to prosecute. No video, no eye witnesses, nothing.

    Leave the man alone. He is already never going to have a life after this. He is always going to be looking over his shoulder.

    July 15, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  16. Larry in Houston

    The Jury Has Spoken !! IT's Over With !! Go On & Learn !! IF the Jury ended up convicting GZ – (guilty) Every person of "color" in this country will think it's "ok" to go and start punching people & slamming their heads into the concrete – and will get by with it – b/c TM got by w/ it.

    SO – the best thing was to defend himself – You do not need a gun to start a fight – you do not need a gun to slam somebody's head against the concrete sidewalk – You do not need a gun to take a person and slam them on the ground, and get grass stains on them !!

    July 15, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  17. Gurgyl

    I do not think they hold any good, constitutionally this is a jury verdict–judge only writes dictum. This no one can deny. We need to work is just quit racial bias. All Americans are Equal–be they Chinese, Hindu,

    July 15, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  18. Gurgyl

    I do not think it holds any good. Just feel we are all equal, be it Hindu, Chinese white or black.

    July 15, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  19. sonny chapman

    If someone wants to be respected, they must be respectful. How respectful was Trayvon in this incident ? He was walking on private property, not on a public street or sidewalk. He should have just kept walking when confronted. Shouldn't have thrown the first punch. Should have backed off after knocking Zimmeman down. Wanted to be a Gangster & Zimmerman, packing heat, wanted to be a Cop. Bad combo & bad result.

    July 15, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  20. rob

    ""For a federal hate crime we have to prove the highest standard in the law," Holder said in April 2012. "Something that was reckless, that was negligent does not meet that standard. We have to show that there was specific intent to do the crime with requisite state of mind.""

    The Jury in Florida came to the conclusion based on the evidence that Zimmerman did not meet the standard. PERIOD !!!

    July 15, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  21. Guest

    Further abuse of power to perpetuate the false racism narrative...ignorance is on full display, as usual.

    July 15, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  22. Rick McDaniel

    CNN lied to the people about this case, from the very beginning........but then.......CNN is now, nothing but a mouthpiece for the WH........a WH propaganda machine.

    July 15, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  23. California

    White House petitions have been ignored before. It's obviouls they pick and choose the ones they think are good and bad.

    PATHETIC.

    July 15, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  24. Romney is STILL NOT My Hero

    Not Guilty?!!!!! The jurors greatly disappointed me with this verdict. How is someone, who has been told NOT to pursue someone and let the police handle it, but they pursue anyway, not guilty for taking the law into their own hands? He went after this guy and started a confrontation that ended in a death. That is murder. The same as if someone flips me off on the freeway and I follow them in my car and then kill them.

    July 15, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  25. Brian

    So much ignorance ingrained in these comments, where to begin. The verdict was fair based on the evidence that was presented. This is not being argued. What is being argued is that Zimmerman PROFILED the victim. Young black man wearing a hoodie, minding his own business. If Martin were white, or Latino, or Asian, would he have pursued? If he weren't armed, would he have pursued? Why did he pursue Martin, even after the 911 dispatcher told him not to? Point being is that the whole thing could have been prevented. The trial wasn't about the pursuit of the victim, but the killing of the victim. Police and other public officials aren't supposed to use racial profiling, so why would a neighborhood watch participant be allowed to profile a fellow citizen? Think about it.

    July 15, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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