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. Boo

    It seems that in Florida one can get away with murder....from killing a small little girl to killing an African American teenager. That said, all Zimmerman had to do was tell Martin he was a neighborhood watch person...AND ALL OF THIS COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED. He's another head case with a gun that will live in fear for the rest of his life. I HAVE NO SYMPATHY FOR HIM.

    July 15, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  2. Pet

    With an all white Jury! I guess, they are also Mr. Martin's peers!

    July 15, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Terry wrote:

    Once again, you prove that you know nothing about firearms.
    -----------------
    You prove that you know nothing about the particular gun that GZ carried.
    The gun had no safety. Would you arm that gun and put it inside of your pants?

    July 15, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  4. Data Driven

    @Guy,

    I corrected myself before the first post appeared, which was also posted. Glad I could give you an opportunity to correct me anyway, though, LOL

    July 15, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  5. rs

    These petitions are meaningless- the court and the jury has ruled, and Zimmerman gets to walk. We don't do justice by polling, or popular demand- just as we don't do civil rights that way either. The Justice Department will most likely not open an investigation of a case already decided in court.

    July 15, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. yes, the truth hurts

    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.
    -–

    Rudy NYC, your ignorance of firearms and how they work is shocking and typical of gun haters. ALL guns have safeties. The safety was disengaged. Zimmerman did NOT need two hands to arm the gun if there was a cartidge in the chamber. If the safety was disengaged and there was a cratridge in the chamber, then pulling the trigger will bring the hammer back and fire the gun.

    Also, having a cartridge in the chamber commits nobody to anything. The safety can be engaged, the cartridge can be ejected or the trigger need not be pulled to fire the firearm. BTW, whether the firearm was cheap or not is irrelevant. Do you know how much it cost? What difference does it make?

    You apear to believe you have far superior intellectual skills than experienced police investigators and experienced prosecutors when in actuallity you know very little based on your statements above.

    July 15, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  7. California

    Democrats apparently MUST keep racism alive. It's all they have left.

    July 15, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. Pet

    How can they understand what is it to be black. The Judge was white, the prosecution was white, the Jury was white, and the defendant white (at least he believe so). The only one black was TM. Somewhere along the line, I know someone else know that nothing fair can come out of this case. In fact after the verdict, the Judge was smiling from ear to ear. Our judicial system is so fair and Just. Thank you.

    July 15, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  9. anonymous

    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
    -–

    why do you endlessly lie in here??? zimmerman was never told to, and could not be told, by a dispatcher to stop following somebody because doing so is not illegal behavior. the dispatcher said 'you don't have to do that' when zimmerman said he was following martin. that is not an order to do anything. if you are picking your nose and i say you don't have to do that, am i ordering you to stop picking your nose? of course not.

    July 15, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    "What kind of gun was it, Rudy B. Rudy, esq.?"
    ----------------------
    Oh, so you don't believe the gun lacked a safety, eh? Google it yourself. HLN has plenty of pictures of it, complete with the make and model visible on the side of it. You will also see that it lacks a safety, which is what the gun expert testified to. There are pictures of both sides of the gun posted there.

    July 15, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. me

    None of you were at the confilict so you really do not know what happened. Both the defense and the prosecution were involved in picking the jury no matter their sexes and no matter their color. Although many identify Zimmerman as a white , but the truth is he is also hispanic. Just like Obama is black but he also is white. The bottom line is the jury has concluded that he is not guilty. Lets get on with our lives and let the wounds heal.

    July 15, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  12. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    You prove that you know nothing about the particular gun that GZ carried.
    The gun had no safety. Would you arm that gun and put it inside of your pants?
    ----------
    He used a Kel-Tec PF 9-mm gun, which according to specifications "weighs about 12 oz. unloaded, has a five-pound trigger pull and has an automatic hammer block safety, which prevents it from firing when dropped. It is also “double-action only,” which means the trigger must be pulled fully in order to fire."

    So Rudy, once again, you do not know what you're talking about. OK?

    July 15, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. Guess

    Jury got this one right

    July 15, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  14. sobach

    @Rudy NYC

    Yes I would, in fact I do it all the time – my carry pistol – a DA/SA, has no manual safety either. The idea that a modern firearm will discharge simply by general impact is just an old myth.

    Also, FYI, the pistol Zimmerman used was a Kel-Tec PF-9, which is DAO (Double Action Only), feel free to drop that thing a few thousand times, chances are you won't get a single misfire.

    July 15, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  15. prole30

    Travon had four minutes after contact to get out of there. He came back and attacked Zimmerman. He had a right to defend himself. So does everyone.

    July 15, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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
    -------------------------------------------------
    Mindboggling indeed.
    I did not expect a murder conviction, but I would've bet the house on manslaughter – at least. So what happenned Sniffit?
    I work so I could not keep up with all the testimony, and nuances but it appeared to me, when I cold tune in, that the prosecutor did one of the crappiest jobs prosecuting I'd ever seen. They looked at times like rank amateurs, or people caught up in whatever wave the defense sent their way.
    They did not seem to have a clear objective, IMO. What is yours Sniffit? What went wrong here?

    July 15, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  17. Dumbas[R]ocks

    Let's summarize the various pieces of nonsense that we've heard over the weeks from the rightwinger noise machine on this story:

    -- A violent and fearless 17 year old black kid dressed in dangerous "black" garb went to a local convenience store to arm himself with a deadly bag of skittles and an iced tea. So armed, the kid found and stalked a larger, gun-carrying hispanic man in order to steal the man's gun. As the larger hispanic man kept watch over his neighborhood, he was able to detect the stalking youth, and the man was alarmed at the sight of yet another candy-eating black child who was about to commit yet another crime in the neigborhood; and so the hispanic man called the police who had no legal right to tell the hispanic man what to do in any case. And then the larger hispanic man, having lost track of the nefarious black kid, and while in or near his truck (having done what the police told him to, even though he was under no obligation to do so), was outwitted and surprised by the skittle-wielding, smaller black kid and was forcefully dragged some distance away, where the child then tried to steal the man's gun. As the situation unfolded, feeling threatened by (a) the skittles and tea, (b) the child's smaller size, (c) how the 17 year old black child was dressed, and (d) the child's (unknown) police record, the larger hispanic man had absolutely no opportunity to escape, but was in
    instead bested by this smaller child in a fight. The larger hispanic man, having banged his head on the ground and with the child's DNA-less hands all over the gun, felt he had no other choice than to shoot the black child dead. --

    Is it any wonder that rightwingers do not believe in evolution, when there is so little evidence that they partook in it?

    July 15, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  18. Ken

    Trayvon Martin was a drug pusher, pushing on school property. IF the school would have done its' job in the 1st place, turned this over to law enforcement, Trayon would still be alive today. A case of too little too late.

    July 15, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  19. Jackson Majura

    The Zimmerman case is a clear testimony to the American lopsided justice system.

    July 15, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  20. Ken

    Child??? LOL! Trayvon was 11 months away from being an emancipated adult. Trayvon was a young man.

    July 15, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  21. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    the dispatcher said 'you don't have to do that' when zimmerman said he was following martin. that is not an order to do anything.
    -----------------------------------------------
    He said "We don't need you to do that." Implying, STOP FOLLOWING HIM! No, it's not against the law to follow someone. But GZ being a grown man, with a loaded weapon on him took it upon himself to be judge, jury & executioner....literally!

    July 15, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  22. California

    It's obvious some don't understand the law.

    July 15, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    He used a Kel-Tec PF 9-mm gun, which according to specifications "weighs about 12 oz. unloaded, has a five-pound trigger pull and has an automatic hammer block safety, which prevents it from firing when dropped. It is also “double-action only,” which means the trigger must be pulled fully in order to fire."

    So Rudy, once again, you do not know what you're talking about. OK?
    -------------
    The gun expert testified that the weapon had no safety. She also testified that the gun did not require nearly as much force on the trigger as it did to arm it. Five poiunds would be about the amount of force required to arm it, with two hands only.

    You're calling the gun expert a liar. I'm not even going to argue the lack of a safety with you or anyone else. It is all in the court records of teh gun experts testimony. No safety.

    July 15, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  24. Uniquitous

    Gun talk- I keep my gun cocked and loaded in my hip holster! There is no locking safety. It is live. If you grip it, and squeeze the trigger, it WILL fire. My holster has a trigger guard to avoid misfires and shooting myself in the hip. I suspect this was also the case with GZ.

    July 15, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  25. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    @DM4O

    I would have bet the bank on manslaughter as well. But I guess when your daddy's a judge, a few strings can be pulled.

    July 15, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6