Petitions gain signatures after Zimmerman verdict
July 15th, 2013
09:44 AM ET
10 years 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. norma jean

    I am not black and I have nothing to do with the NAACP but I am with them in their thinking and their feeling about this killing....It was murder no matter how you look at it. If this jerk Zimmerman had minded his own business and not followed this young man...he would still be alive. M"Z" was just looking for a chance to start something so he could follow his dream of becoming a policeman...{well, THAT'S gone forever}... And he killed a probably very frightened kid in the process and dreamed up a scenerio to fit the killing..... { Oddly there were pictures at the very beginning of this news story on television with NO damage to "Zs" face. What became of those pictures??

    July 15, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  2. Ken

    @Norma Jean
    A lot of IFs and probabilities What really happened is what counts and no one has a clue except Trayvon and George
    Two wrongs don't make a right. Trust in your rights and our jury system.

    July 15, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  3. Terry

    @Marie MD
    @terry, I almost had an or – gasm just thinking of you walking around with that big gun of yours armed and ready to shoot!
    Making up for lack of something else?
    Not impressed one iota.
    Because of the nature of society these days and at my wife's insistence we have agreed that one of us should always be carrying (legally, of course). My wife also carries a revolver in her purse (also legally). If you will allow me to say so, my wife thought processes are far more rational and logical than those of yours. And I don't think harbors the same "issues" as yourself.

    July 15, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  4. norma jean

    A writer says the jury looked at the facts and a made up story. How can you reconcile this and the fact that an unarmed seventeen year old boy is dead?????

    July 15, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  5. JM

    Behavioral Theory 101 – If you do something and are reinforced for doing it, you will repeat.

    Obama has shown no leadership. Social media people rip each other apart and Obama has done nothing to discuss that. Yet here he calls Martin's death a "national tragedy." It just goes to show that he is still that extremist sitting in the left wing church in Chicago. He is willing to let everyone rip each other apart, including other democrats, in order to raise the rainbow flag above Capital Hill once and for all.


    July 15, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  6. Stellar17

    Eric Holder himself stated the bar is set very high for proving a hate crime. The FBI has published the findings of their own investigation and determined George Zimmerman's actions were not racially motivated. The prosecution did not make the case for a racial hate crime during the case, so how is there any evidence to support Federal charges of a hate crime?

    July 15, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  7. True Blue

    Another case of a gun getting in the hands of the wrong person. Another case of guns leading to vigilante justice. Another case to rethink the 2nd Amendment. Our forefathers had no clue that we would turn out this way.

    July 15, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  8. JG

    Just curious. How many black killings of whites have been given this much press ? How many black killings of whites have drawn this much outrage ?

    July 15, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  9. Charlie

    The facts include: Al Sharpton was down in MIami two days after the shooting, imploring the crowds that Zimmerman was guilty and should be tried for murder. The media ran the bogus stories that a gentle black youth was gunned down by a vigilante "white man." It wasn't reported for a full week that Zimmerman was Hispanic. It wasn't reported for a full month that Martin was associated with gang members and drug use. It's funny that OJ committed murder and the African American community rejoiced in his being found "not guilty"; Zimmerman is found "not guilty" and it is a RACIST verdict. You can't have it both ways.

    July 15, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  10. janet denise dilworth

    I.M just so shock about this not guilty verdict it's a nightmare to me that can't go away and to know that the killer is set free to kill again because he beat the system and there will be more George Zimmerman out there to do the same thing if we don't change this profiling being Black.

    July 15, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  11. franck francisk

    Did Does those people has a human heart? How They Praise A criminal alike.O my God.
    Where we are going?

    July 15, 2013 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  12. Erica

    yea this needs to go to civil court . Zimmerman's behavior was unacceptable due to the fact that he was told to stand down by the law itself. After that was said , I don't understand how thing could have went wrong if he wouldn't had followed direct orders from the beginning . He took matters into his own hands and followed this young man .He is not a cop nor is it his job to follow a young man for no apparent reason.

    July 15, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  13. JG

    How much black on black crime gets much attention?

    July 15, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  14. angie chui

    Anyone with a little common sense would conclude that Z over-reacted & caused a life, punishment of some sort is adamant, period.

    July 15, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  15. austinandjustin

    The only danger Zimmerman was in was in getting his butt beat. Kind of reminds me of that old movie Friday. When the hero went against the villain he pulled a gun. His father had told him that young men today where scared of getting their butts beat. When his father saw that gun he told him that they didn't a gun when he was growing up. They had their fists. They got beat and beat up. But they always walked away in the end. If Zimmerman hadn't pulled his gun he would have gotten beat up, but both would have walked away in the end. But then again if he didn't have his gun to feel brave, he would have obeyed the 911 operator and not followed.

    July 15, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  16. john patros

    The verdict is in ! deal with it.

    July 15, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  17. Brian

    Mr. President, now you must get involved and tell the Att. General to sit down and shut up! The feds have no business in this !! Our system has done its job and the system works better than any other in the world. This is no place for the feds to try and become a dictatorship! MY GOD ,,,,leave it alone!! IN my opinion, the black Att. General will not be happy until the nation burns!!! People have been peaceful to this point,,,Let time heal!!!

    July 15, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  18. GI Joe

    If his gun was inside a black holster, inside his pants, under a shirt and jacket on his backside, and he was on his back HOW DID TRAYVON SEE IT???? GZ is a liar.

    July 15, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  19. GI Joe

    JM – ever heard of 1st Amendment? Freedom of the press, any of those things??

    July 15, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  20. Let it rest

    I really don't understand what our Government is trying to accomplish here. Didn't the guys get his face beat in? broken nose? What about this, is not understood? I think we are at the point that the militant white haters are so emboldened, it doesn't matter the reasons why– they just want blood. Until the rest of us are ready to stand tough- this scene is going to get more and more obscene- the intimidation. If the federal government wants to incite rights- then got ahead and do it- seems that's where we are heading for anyway- get it over with.

    July 15, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  21. Raven

    How the press handled this case was disgraceful especially by CNN and NBC. This should have never been about race. The jury found Zimmerman not guilty but Jesse Jackson uses every possibility to get in front of a camera. Why not put all this energy into changing the gun laws? Go protest the fact that lobbyists for big corporations and organizations (e.g. for Monsanto and the NRA) can openly threaten and bribe politicians to vote in their favor. By the way, the parents of Martin already got 1 million dollars from the HOA.

    July 15, 2013 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  22. Patsy

    The President and his attorney general has no business involving themselves in these volatile racially charged issues, It will incite more violence

    July 16, 2013 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  23. Patsy

    Norma Jean, take time to review this case, and remember there are a lot of misinformed people out there

    July 16, 2013 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  24. M jones

    A good example of lynching, from days of old . Stay in pray, There is a higher power,justice will prevail .

    July 16, 2013 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
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