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. California

    At least we now have a list of all the racists.

    July 15, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  2. Ken

    Pistols without a safety are meant to be self-defense weapons, carried with a round in the chamber. These non safety pistols typically have a longer and harder trigger pull to counter act over response in a high tension situation. IF a round was not chambered, it is most likely Martin would be on trial today for murder I.

    July 15, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  3. MJJJusticeProject

    In a Sean Hannity interview Zimmerman is asked "Do you regret getting out of your care" "Do you regret following Trayvon?" and "Do you regret carrying a gun" To all of these Zimmerman responded "No". Yet, if he'd not followed, nor had a gun or stayed in his car- Trayvon Martin would be alive today – Zimmermna has NO regrets over his actions that fateful night – and that speaks volumes.

    July 15, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. 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."
    --------------------
    A "hammer block safety" is not a safety switch. Once armed the gun would still fire any time the trigger is pulled.

    Speaking of which, a five pound trigger pull sounds a bit on the high side to me. The expert testified that it required "not much pressure" to pull the trigger compared to the amount of force required to arm it.

    July 15, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  5. California Gary

    @California........it's not a matter of "keeping racism alive" as you suggest. In parts of this country, unfortunately, racism is alive and well.......in some cases still thriving. Is there really any question about what would have happened if the roles were reversed? If a black neighborhood watch adult male had gunned down a white unarmed teenager walking home from the 7-11 store with an iced tea and a bag of skittles......do you think the jury would have come to the same conclusion? If so, you are denying the reality that a lot of people live in down South.

    July 15, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  6. Guess

    One less problem to deal with

    July 15, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  7. Guess

    So he attacked a guy with a loaded gun, one who had been following him, without saying a word. i also dont believe travons mother really thought that was him crying for help, they wanted steet justice at any cost

    July 15, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  8. Terry

    The Glock 19 I am carrying in a holster on my side has no safety and a round chambered.

    July 15, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  9. California

    California Gary

    @California........it's not a matter of "keeping racism alive" as you suggest. In parts of this country, unfortunately, racism is alive and well.......in some cases still thriving. Is there really any question about what would have happened if the roles were reversed? If a black neighborhood watch adult male had gunned down a white unarmed teenager walking home from the 7-11 store with an iced tea and a bag of skittles......do you think the jury would have come to the same conclusion? If so, you are denying the reality that a lot of people live in down South.
    ---–
    Justice is color blind or at least should be. Apparently some don't want it to be.

    July 15, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Dumbas[R]ocks

    [ Your summation was great and spot on ] That being said:

    Skittle toting black boys have always been a very big concern in my neighborhood. No doubt that is why so many convenience stores have been shut down in my community. It's the skittles, you understand. Very dangerous ... in the wrong hands. Guns? Not so much.

    /snark ... which I'm sorry to say IS appropriate with this miscarriage of justice against a young boy doing nothing more than walking to and from a local store, who, in the process, somehow ended up being a criminal ... and a dead criminal at that. I can't even begin to imagine what the prosecutor's end game was. It's doubtful HE knew, either.

    July 15, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  11. thinking outside the box

    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.
    __________________________________________________________________________________________

    It doesn't change the fact that the outcome was generated by Zimmerman's actions. Telling someone they don't have to pick their nose may not be ordering them to not pick their nose, but if they do anyway and it bleeds it's still their fault for picking it.

    July 15, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  12. Fair is Fair

    "A "hammer block safety" is not a safety switch. Once armed the gun would still fire any time the trigger is pulled."
    --------
    Just a few minutes ago, you said something completely different. You asked if I would the gun in my pants with a cartridge chambered. YES, I would. Do you have any knowledge of firearms or how they operate at all? Because your posts clearly indicate you do not.

    July 15, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    D/B Newz wrote:

    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!
    ------------------
    Following? You can hear GZ's labored breathing, as if he were running. The heavy breathing is what the operator said caused her to ask the question, "Are you following him," in the first place. And that came just after GZ said, "He's running."

    July 15, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  14. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    My biggest gripe with this case was the biggest lie of them all by GZ when he stated in the Hannity interview that he NEVER heard of "Stand Your Ground" until after the shooting. He got an A in his law class and the professor said they specifically went over Stand Your Ground. Things that make you go hmmmmm. If I were a betting man, which I am, I'm almost undoubtedly certain that GZ had every intention on shooting Treyvon and used his minor injuries as an excuse to justify the shooting.

    July 15, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  15. Jabbadahut

    Get over it, Zimmerman is not white!

    July 15, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. Steveo

    @Rudy
    somehow he survived being body slammed 20-25 times without it going off.
    --------------
    Perhaps I missed something but where did being body slamed 20-25 times come from? I am asking an honest question.

    July 15, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  17. California Gary

    @California.......agreed.....justice "should" be color blind. But that is not yet a reality. You didn't answer my question......do you think that jury would have reached the same verdict if it had been an adult black male that shot an unarmed white teenager? Having a little trouble digesting that one are you?

    July 15, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  18. Ed1

    It's over people let it rest no grounds for a racial review by the DOJ the FBI already said there nothing was there.

    Looks to me that the Obama and the press wanted somebody to pay for this the trail is over not guilty.

    July 15, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  19. California

    California Gary

    @California.......agreed.....justice "should" be color blind. But that is not yet a reality. You didn't answer my question......do you think that jury would have reached the same verdict if it had been an adult black male that shot an unarmed white teenager? Having a little trouble digesting that one are you?
    -----
    Yes I do believe so. No trouble at all. That's an easy one.

    July 15, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "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."

    Sigh. Just because he had no legal obligation to obey an order from the dispatcher doesn't mean it's not evidence that his behavior was reckless and wanton and showed a blatant disregard for the life of the person he was harassing. Your attempt to read something into my comment that was not there is just a straw man.

    July 15, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  21. California Gary

    @California......have you ever had to the opportunity to live in the South for awhile? Not visit, but actually live there? I have.......and I will tell you that justice is not applied equally to all races down there. It's better than it was.....but there is still a long way to go before actual equality under the law is a reality. That is my observation having spent some time living there.

    July 15, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  22. Peoples State of Illinois

    ...do you think that jury would have reached the same verdict if it had been an adult black male that shot an unarmed white teenager.......
    ------
    Based on the evidence presented, yes.

    July 15, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  23. just askin

    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?
    --

    your problem is that you just refuse to accept the facts of the case and that is that trayvon martin assaulted zimmerman and zimmerman had every right in the world to defend himself and prevent his death at the hands of 17 year old guy sitting on top of him and pummeling him and hitting his head against the concrete. what went wrong is your lack of understanding that the right of self defense is a legitimate defsne against all these charges. and that is what the jury agreed on and that is why this case was never borught in the first place, until racial politics intruded on the justice system.

    July 15, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. California

    California Gary

    @California......have you ever had to the opportunity to live in the South for awhile? Not visit, but actually live there? I have.......and I will tell you that justice is not applied equally to all races down there. It's better than it was.....but there is still a long way to go before actual equality under the law is a reality. That is my observation having spent some time living there.
    ---–
    I have not lived there but I can say that racism comes in many forms such as affirmative action even. If race is going to be injected into everything it's no wonder many start to think it's true. Repeat it enough times and people start to believe it?

    July 15, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  25. pjoe

    Trayvon Martin was not Obama's son.

    Trayvon Martin was Obama's tool ... used to stir up the base in a swing state during an election.

    July 15, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
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