Petitions gain signatures after Zimmerman verdict
July 15th, 2013
09:44 AM ET
9 months 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. Guy

    @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!"
    """"""""""""`
    He was tried on the charge of second degree murder. He was found not guilty.

    July 15, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  2. California

    Democrats have injected racism into this from day one.

    NBC should be brought up on charges of trying to incite a national riot.

    July 15, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. B.

    What a travesty of justice this is and will continue to happen with outrageous state laws that encourage murder on the streets!

    The American people understand that this countries laws still allow racial murder to continue.

    July 15, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  4. Gurgyl

    Sell T'Shirts and make money...

    July 15, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  5. Mikey

    Believe it or not, someone actually posted "The Evidence in the trial shows George Zimmerman's civil rights were voilated by Travon Martin. Case Closed."
    ******************************************************
    Sounds like evidence of a closed mind, rather than a closed case.

    July 15, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  6. Fair is Fair

    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.
    -------
    Well,, lookie here – we have our own Perry Mason in our midst. So why didn't YOU go and prosecute the case, Ironsides?

    July 15, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  7. Thomas

    Too many guns !

    July 15, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. Ken

    Martin has been shown justice........what is the punishment for selling drugs on school property? It could not be proven he was selling, just using for personal use.
    The young man was given a 10 day suspension from school! The state picks it arguments based on national biased uneducated opinion. Munches or candy? What a national travesty.

    July 15, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    " 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"

    Boy that sounds ridiculously stupid in light of Obama's comments that "we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken" AND the fact that DOJ was ALREADY investigating the possibility of civil rights violations. You either didn't read the article or the words went in both eyes and out your ears.

    July 15, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  10. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    I have a better option of affecting Florida: BOYCOTT! I will not spend anymore tourism dollars in that state until major reforms are made. I guess my trip last year to Orlando was my last trip EVER. Let's see how Disney, Universal Studios, Epcot, Busch Gardens feel when they're losing out on a huge stream of revenue. Even though the Magic, the Heat, the Jaguars or the Dolphins are not my teams, I will not support any sporting events where they attend. Nothing against the teams personally, but there's a gripe to be made with the SunBlind State.

    July 15, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  11. Larry in Houston

    GZ did not shoot TM b/c of his race !! Don't blame him for shooting TM – if they slammed my head on the concrete & they ended up rubbing the back of my shirt on the grass !!!!
    what do u expect him to do ??
    Why didn't TM Explain to GZ that he was on his way to his house – on the other street – and he just got back from 7 – 11 with ice tea & candy – when TM started to say remarks, and tried to throw the first punch – No Wonder GZ was trying to defend his self.

    July 15, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  12. ST

    I trust Zimmerman intended to kill. Why did he shoot straight to the heart and not to any part of the body, like on the arm or on foot. This could had prevented Trayvon from attacking him further more and couldn't had died. I remember on one interview (probably with Sean Hannity), he mentioned that while under custody of Police he sent a message to his wife to wear a body armor, no matter how uncomfortable it was. This shows, he knew a bullet through the heart kills, that why he applied to Trayvon Martin.

    July 15, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "The trial wasn't about the pursuit of the victim"

    It sure was. The lesser included offense of manslaughter was on the table, and GZ's blatant disobedience of the 911 dispatcher's directive not to pursue TM could very easily be used to find that he acted recklessly and with wanton disregard for the dangerous situation he was instigating. It's mindboggling that THAT is not precisely what the jury found. 2nd degree murder was perhaps a bit much...but this was an easy manslaughter conviction.

    July 15, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  14. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Why didn't TM Explain to GZ that he was on his way to his house
    --------------------------------------
    Why didn't GZ identify himself as neighborhood watch?

    July 15, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  15. California

    This administration is now turning this into a witch hunt.

    They want blood and they won't stop until they get it.

    July 15, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "Why didn't TM Explain to GZ that he was on his way to his house "

    He doesn't have to. people walking lawfully down the street doing nothing wrong are not subject to another person's insistence that they answer questions about who they are and what they're doing, where they are going and what objects they have on their person....regardless of whether the person asking the questions has a loaded weapon with him and fancies himself the Batman.

    July 15, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "This administration is now turning this into a witch hunt. "

    DOJ has been investigating this for a while now. There's no "turning this into" anything about it. Grow up.

    July 15, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Fair is Fair asked:

    Well,, lookie here – we have our own Perry Mason in our midst. So why didn't YOU go and prosecute the case, Ironsides?
    --------------------
    I wish I could have. All of the facts that are not in dispute actually disprove GZ's version of events. The nature of the gun's operations totally contradicts GZ in that walk-thru video pantomining pulling out his gun and firing. He claims that he had an armed weapon, which had no safety, in his back pocket while he was being body slammed 20-25 times.....and amazingly the gun did not fire. How could he even pull the gun out without shooting himself first? Because none of that ever happened.

    Once GZ armed that gun, he never put it into his hidden holster. He'd be a fool. It was out when he first confronted Martin.

    July 15, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. California

    Sniffit

    "This administration is now turning this into a witch hunt. "

    DOJ has been investigating this for a while now. There's no "turning this into" anything about it. Grow up.
    ------
    They're going based on it being a racist issue. There was no racist issue in this incident no matter how much they want it to be. They know it but they'll say it over and over again till they actually believe it themselves.

    July 15, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    "Well,, lookie here – we have our own Perry Mason in our midst. So why didn't YOU go and prosecute the case, Ironsides?"
    ---------------------
    I had trusted that prosecutors would have done their jobs by presenting an alternate theory that fit the facts which contradicts GZ's story. The behavior of the gun is indisputable. GZ would have to be a complete fool to carry that weapon in his hip holster when it is armed. But, somehow he survived being body slammed 20-25 times without it going off. No. Once armed, the gun never made it into his hidden holster.

    July 15, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  21. ST

    @ Larry in Huoston
    What makes you trust in whatever Zimmerman said was true. Did you expect him to say; "I started punching Trayvon, and the fight started from there"? Remember they were two and you are listening from one side only.

    July 15, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  22. Curt

    Just a point that I never saw explained. Zimmerman claims Martin saw his gun and tried to reach for it. How is this possible? The gun was in an inside holster, tucked in his pants and near the base of his back. If Martin was straddling Zimmerman, the gun would have been behind Martin and out of his view. Indicates to me that gun was already drawn from its holster. Also believe it would be impossible for Zimmerman to get that gun out of its holster the way he claims Martin was straddling him.

    July 15, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  23. Terry

    @Rudy NYC
    "Well,, lookie here – we have our own Perry Mason in our midst. So why didn't YOU go and prosecute the case, Ironsides?"
    -------
    I had trusted that prosecutors would have done their jobs by presenting an alternate theory that fit the facts which contradicts GZ's story. The behavior of the gun is indisputable. GZ would have to be a complete fool to carry that weapon in his hip holster when it is armed. But, somehow he survived being body slammed 20-25 times without it going off. No. Once armed, the gun never made it into his hidden holster.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Once again, you prove that you know nothing about firearms.

    July 15, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Sniffit

    "The trial wasn't about the pursuit of the victim"

    It sure was. The lesser included offense of manslaughter was on the table, and GZ's blatant disobedience of the 911 dispatcher's directive not to pursue TM could very easily be used to find that he acted recklessly and with wanton disregard for the dangerous situation he was instigating. It's mindboggling that THAT is not precisely what the jury found. 2nd degree murder was perhaps a bit much...but this was an easy manslaughter conviction.
    ----------------
    2nd degree murder is not a stretch when you take a look at how that cheap gun operates. Once he armed it, he had to fire it.

    July 15, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  25. Fair is Fair

    "I had trusted that prosecutors would have done their jobs by presenting an alternate theory that fit the facts which contradicts GZ's story. The behavior of the gun is indisputable. GZ would have to be a complete fool to carry that weapon in his hip holster when it is armed. But, somehow he survived being body slammed 20-25 times without it going off. No. Once armed, the gun never made it into his hidden holster."
    -------
    What kind of gun was it, Rudy B. Rudy, esq.?

    July 15, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
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