Petitions get one million signatures for Zimmerman charges
July 16th, 2013
04:48 PM ET
5 years ago

Petitions get one million signatures for Zimmerman charges

(CNN) – One million people have so far signed online petitions by the NAACP and calling for federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

Three days after Zimmerman was found not guilty of second degree murder or manslaughter after a February 2012 confrontation with Martin, thousands have taken to the streets and the digital highways to call for federal action.

"The most fundamental of civil rights – the right to life – was violated the night George Zimmerman stalked and then took the life of Trayvon Martin," the petition reads on the NAACP's website. "We ask that the Department of Justice file civil rights charges against Mr. Zimmerman for this egregious violation."

Supporters of the petitions, which went online shortly after the verdict Saturday night, argue that Zimmerman pursued and confronted Martin specifically because the teenager was black.

The only juror of the six-member, all-woman panel to come forward so far after the verdict has said she did not feel race played a part in the confrontation.

To succeed, civil rights charges against Zimmerman would have to meet a very high burden of proof in showing that he racially profiled Martin.

The Department of Justice first considered the case last year. At the time, Attorney General Eric Holder said "for a federal hate crime, we have to prove the highest standard in the law."

Now, petitioners on and the NAACP's website want Holder to take another look.

"The support our petition has received shows the mindset of the American public, who are tired of a system of justice that allows for appalling verdicts like the one we saw on Saturday," Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors, said in a statement.

The number of petitioners is not available online, and results have been reported in statements from the NAACP. The one million number comes from a combination of the two petitions. A separate petition on the White House's website has so far amassed 25,000 signatures, a quarter of the 100,000 signatures it would need to get a response.

Holder has indicated that he is watching. The Justice Department will "continue to act in a manner that is consistent with the facts and the law," he said in a speech in Washington Monday, examining what he called "the tragic, unnecessary shooting death of Trayvon Martin."

While commentators on both sides of the political spectrum have weighed in freely on whether or not additional legal action should be pursued against Zimmerman, President Barack Obama has not commented on potential federal charges.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Monday that the decision to prosecute Zimmerman "is not something the president involves himself in," he said. Obama "has no opinion to express about the disposition about how the Justice Department will look at this."

- CNN's Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.

Filed under: Eric Holder • Justice Department • NAACP
soundoff (115 Responses)
  1. just a thought

    Maybe the charge should be age discrimination instead to align with the punk determination by zimmerman.

    July 16, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  2. sabre546

    So they used Obamas group and NAACP and got 1 million people to support their cause ? Imagine that. Are these the same fine folks looting , burning the flag and tossing trash cans into business?

    July 16, 2013 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  3. richard

    I would sign a petition to get Holder to resign. What a disgrace, the Worst AG ever under the worst racist corrupt president ever.

    July 16, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  4. Personman

    Everyone who is losing their minds over this case need to find something more important in their lives. Zimmerman didn't "stalk" anyone. He was a recognized neighborhood watchman. He called a nonemergency line to report a suspicious person - whose race he wasn't exactly sure of initially - and followed him a short distance to make sure he wasn't doing anything.

    All the actual evidence suggests Zimmerman was the one who was attacked, Zimmerman was the one being physically assaulted, and Zimmerman was the one who was not the aggressor. Martin decided to pick a fight with a stranger, and he lost. There is no race in it.

    July 16, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  5. dude

    Following someone you're reporting to the police as suspicious is NOT stalking and is not illegal. Even if he contronted TM then there is nothing illegal about asking someone what their up to (which no proof says happened). Whoever started the fight is at fault. If I walk up to you, even if you think I'm following you, you cannot punch me in the face or it makes you the aggressor and the wrong party. I'm not saying this happened but unless you can prove otherwise then you have to vote note guilty by law. Nothing up until the first punch was illegal by law. Private citizens can even profile if they want. Cops can't, but private citizens can all they want legally. The verdict was right based on the facts shown in the trial. Neither getting out of a car (which he was out of before told they don't need him to follow) or following someone is illegal and therefore not grounds to automatically make someone guilty. The 4 minutes of lost time between Zim losing sight of martin and the two meeting means both sides made mistakes and there shouldn't have been a confrontation. However since there was it comes to who escalated it to violence and we may never know. Not know means a not guilty verdict though.

    July 16, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  6. Richie Bee

    One thing I am thankful for is that the NAACP DOES NOT engage in racial profiling themselves. It's a true fact that they would have spoken out if the kid who got shot was white or hispanic, and the shoote was black. I'm sure there are plenty of cases to prove this.

    July 16, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  7. Sarah

    Soo many people are sickened by this alleged "cover up" that Zimmerman is going to have to "watch his backside" most likely for the rest of his life. The safest place for him to be might just be prison. At least he could get himself put into solitary there.

    July 16, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  8. GI Joe

    Zimmerman is too self-centered and spoiled by mommy and daddy judge. Georgie, as they still call a grown man, will spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder. I say GOOD.

    July 16, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  9. Mark

    Filing civil rights charges would be tantamount to "double jeopardy" and would be nothing but vindictive and un-American.

    July 16, 2013 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  10. hooded

    any other references by zimmerman to his thinking that only blacks or only teens with hoodies are "what he said" – or are all people who wear hoodies "what he said" – that man has problems if so since the majority of people in US wear sweatshirts with hoods
    think he was profiling based on age and probably race

    July 16, 2013 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  11. JiminNM

    I vote for a counterclaim by Zimmerman against Martin's family for civil rights violation against Martin for his attack on Zimmerman. Civil rights works both ways.

    July 16, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  12. Alison

    How do you know that "Zimmerman stalked, confronted and, after Trayvon defended himself, shot this kid in the heart."??? Were you there? How can anyone ask for Justice when they don't know what happened that night. Yes, it is incredibly sad that Trayvon Martin died. However, if we put people in jail based on how we feel emotionally, half the country would be in jail. That is why we have a judicial system.

    July 16, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  13. Oakspar77777

    Today, 329 million Americans did not sign a petition to waste federal funds persecuting an innocent civilian for defending his life.

    July 16, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  14. Ulysses-AZ

    Hmmm... how about a contest. CNN can publicize 2 online petitions... one FOR having DOJ proceed with civil rights charges and one NOT to proceed with charges. Whoever gets the most petition signees gets to decide what DOJ does!!! We'll be just like a more technologically advanced THIRD WORLD NATION!!! Why have a jury trial for any of these big show trials anyway... we'll just have the audience vote for the winner (or loser). Just think how much better our country will be... NOT.

    July 16, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  15. KBNJ

    Wow. So this is what a public lynching looks like. And the head of the DOJ, no less, is adding fuel to the fire. I've never been so disgusted in my life.

    July 16, 2013 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  16. Reality Check

    As much as so many would like to see the Justice Department charge Zimmerman for killing Trayvon, let's face reality here; it does look promising. Holder will dissappoint so many and the questions be raised, where do we go from here? how and can we heal from this?

    July 16, 2013 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  17. Tim

    How about a petition for an investigation into how Zimmerman's civil rights were violated when he was arrested due to friggin' political perssure...wonder how many could sign a "counter" petition, I be it would exceed 2 million today...bunch of whinie assed liberals....the media is to blame for this crap.... I'm getting so tired of moving backwards in this country...maybe we need 2 coutries

    July 16, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  18. Reality Check

    Correction in earlier post, does not look promising

    July 16, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  19. layla

    Now we need to start a petition to stop this petition.

    July 16, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  20. Richmond-VA

    First, everyone's mad that the local DA decides to not pursue charges on the basis that there wasn't enough to justify prosecution. This, the media stoking the racial flames, and our President once again picking sides, pushes it to go to trial, where lo and behold, there wasn't enough to convict. Tried by a fair juror decided on by BOTH the prosecution AND defense, and he was found NOT guilty. Nope....not enough. Now, waah and cry that the Fed needs to step and prosecute for what is incorrectly being interpreted as a race crime. Get over it people! This wasn't a race crime. It's over. He's not guilty. Move on. So, when the Fed does bring charges and once again, Zimmerman is found NOT guilty, will it then stop? I doubt it. I expect ALL of you will continue to piss and moan about how unfair it is.

    July 16, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  21. george hamer

    Were not talking about a 12 year old child....this was a young man, Zim broke no law by defending himself. If the Federal Government has issue with State laws then that should be the case, however going after Zim wont stop any problem Sharpton or any body else has with this case If the law remains the same so will the outcome, it wont matter what color the dead man is.

    July 16, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  22. DustyOnes

    I am signing one that states that Holder and the DOJ has violated Zimmerman's Civil Rights.

    July 16, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  23. Revolution

    White power!

    July 16, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  24. Michael

    I am sorry someone had to die but I have watched and wondered why no one cares that the prosecution withheld evidence in this case , how can anyone trust the justice system when they break the law any time they want to get a verdict they like and not the truth ? . Don't forget they are paid to enforce the laws not break them at will , who is safe when they can lie and hide evidence just to get a win and nothing happens to them ? . The honest prosecutors out there should be making sure the crooked ones go to prison , every year you hear of people who are set free from prison that should never have sent there to begin with just so some prosecutor can have another win on their record . You can never have real Justice until you hold them to account for the laws they break as well

    July 16, 2013 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  25. margit korn

    justics for the little boy ...So far the system has failed the Martin family ....

    July 16, 2013 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
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