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

Petitions get one million signatures for Zimmerman charges

(CNN) – One million people have so far signed online petitions by the NAACP and MoveOn.org 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 MoveOn.org 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. simplyput

    I was expecting manslaughter. Sentences are too stiff for manslaughter in Florida if a gun is involved. I thought bias entered the trial the moment the president put his two cents in.

    July 17, 2013 03:25 am at 3:25 am |
  2. Dar

    The people who should be going to jail are the ones that miss guided people with exaggerated, made up stories about this case.
    The people screamed they wanted justice and they got it. GZ had his day in court as the people wanted. They did not get the answer they wanted so now they scream more.
    This looks and sounds like an old western movie when the vigilantes rush the jail house and hand them high. I thought we were past all of that????
    The law in Florida is the law there and GZ won on those grounds. If you don't like the laws and you live in Florida, CHANGE THEM!!!
    If you don't live in Florida, you really don't have anything to say about it.

    As far as people saying that his wounds were not life threatening, you might want to consider that if TM would have continued bashing GZ's head on the concrete, the wounds would be much more than what he had.
    I know if someone was bashing my head in against the concrete I would not have waited to see if the person was going to stop short of killing me. YES, I would have shot the person too. Black, white, yellow, Red, pink, purple, what ever color they were.

    July 17, 2013 05:14 am at 5:14 am |
  3. James Lynn

    When will this witch hunt of GZ end? I think it's funny that even after the verdict people are marching in the street chanting "No justice no peace!" when justice has been served. A jury has spoken and rendered their verdict. Just goes to show their ignorance. This lynching of, as we now know, an INNOCENT man must stop.

    July 17, 2013 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
  4. M.A.P.

    People have lost all logic with this case. It is simply upset people letting their emotions block their common sense. Only full racists are making the evil comments that he deserved it etc. But the reaction from the african american community has also been unbalanced and unfair. Nobody knows what was going through Zimmermans head. Everyone close to him says he's not a racist. The facts we do know is that he followed Trey when he shouldnt have (out of concern for his neighborhood), and that his head was rammed into the street by Trey. He shouldnt have shot him, but trey shouldnt have attacked him either. Everyone seems to conveniently skip over the fact that Trayvon assaulted Zimmerman (he didn't break his own nose and smash his own head against the pavement). If a white guy was on top of a black guy smashing his head into the concrete and the black guy shot him in self defense, then he probably wouldnt go to jail either. People are overreacting. It's horrible what happened, horrible but not necessarily racism.

    July 17, 2013 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  5. CALVIN FREEMAN

    If we live in a country where everyone is equall under the Law; then what happened here to Trayvon Martin's right to "Stand His Ground upon encountering George Zimmerman? This Jury apparantely was never asked to consider this point during their deliberation, if they had, I don't feel the verdict would have turned out the way it did.By stressing the right here of George Zimmerman and offering him up as the Victim here, it just really misses the point.

    July 17, 2013 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  6. twill

    Sad sad they've gotta bleed the man to death no matter what. I pray his lawyer is ready and his family. One security 24/7 government should have pay for it due to him and his thugs. And yeah guess they want money someway have constant contact, where he will live and work so they can send someone to do him in.they've broke his rights, caused hate crimes, murder beatings and not a damn charge yet on them. It is our fault. We know their hate crimes we need push this .

    July 17, 2013 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  7. M.A.P.

    @CALVIN FREEMAN the answer to your question is simple – Trayvon Martin couldn't claim the self defense of Stand your ground claim because he was not ATTACKED by Zimmerman. He was followed – yes, but Zimmerman was not the one who started the physical fight (according to testimony and evidence). If Trayvon had not physically attacked Zimmerman with his fists, he would still be alive.

    Is the new idea that if you are getting your hear split open on concrete, you just have to lie there and hope they don't kill you?

    July 17, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  8. russ

    people its over to make a Federal case shows how the government is against whites i didn't see the black panthers in jail for intimidating white voters when Obama was being elected eric holder came out and said theres no white racism and he wouldnt do anything about it so if they do something over this case we should ask our military to remove them from office under violation of the constitution zimmerman was tried and found innocent they have no right to go any further and waste our money and people should focus on the real problem in the middle east this is a smoke screen for whats really going on wake up dont be divided anymore this is what they want

    July 17, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  9. J. P

    Zimmerman is not racist, but i think the jurors are racists; i also don,t think that Zimmerman himself believes that he is innocent by murdering Tayvon Martin

    July 17, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  10. Anonymous

    Anonymous
    There is no evidence that George Zimmerman followed Trayvon nor that he stalked him.

    Dispatcher – "Are you still following him?"
    Zimmerman – "Yeah."
    Dispatcher – "We don't need you to do that, sir."

    Zimmerman continued to follow (stalk) and eventually confront Martin.

    July 17, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  11. Crust

    The real lesson people should try to take away from this is not to attack people in the street with your fists. They might have a gun and use it to defend themselves. END OF LESSION.

    There's no mention of race in the Stand your ground laws. There's actually no mention of race in any self defense law, so all these people claiming inf the races were reversed then he would be found guilty of murder, I ask them to show one tiny shred of evidence that supports that. But no they just carry on kicking and screaming without actually THINKING logically about the situation. Media has been tostally one sided too. Disgraceful

    July 17, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  12. racheak kaye

    Its appalling to think this man walked away untouched. My thought is if not in a jail cell the world will be his purgatory.this man will have to look over his shoulder his whole life maybe that's more of a punishment than any court could sentence him to.

    July 17, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  13. Jamie

    I don't remember people rioting or starting petitions when OJ was acquitted after killing 2 white people. Why doesn't anyone make a big deal out of all the white people killed by blacks every year? The reason is because that's life! Tragic things happen every day to people of ALL races.

    July 17, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  14. ta

    This is crazy. gz should have gotten manslaughter he stalk a boy. he shot and killed a minor. In this court system if you hit a child it's abuse. what is it when you shoot and kill a child?

    July 17, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. Shakia

    You consider this to be "breaking news"?
    My God, You have had waaaay too much of the kook aid.

    July 17, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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