Zimmerman Found Not Guilty

In the courtroom, George Zimmerman was released and his GPS monitor cut off. Host Rachel Martin explains the verdict and reaction.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Late last night in the Seminole Circuit Court in Sanford, Florida...

JUDGE DEBRA NELSON: Members of the jury, have you reached a verdict? If you'll please call the verdict form and hand it to Deputy Jarvis.

MARTIN: A six-person jury, all women, had finished deliberating the fate of George Zimmerman. He was charged with second degree murder and manslaughter for the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

DEPUTY JARVIS: State of Florida versus George Zimmerman. Verdict, we the jury find George Zimmerman not guilty, so say we all. Foreperson.

MARTIN: George Zimmerman kept a straight face as the verdict was read. His mother and wife cried. The judge told Zimmerman his bond was being released.

NELSON: Your GPS monitor will be cut off when you exit the courtroom over here and you have no further business with the court.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Thank you.

NELSON: OK, thank you. If there's anything else...

MARTIN: Afterward, Benjamin Crump, the lawyer for Trayvon Martin's parents, drew larger connections with civil rights history.

BENJAMIN CRUMP: Trayvon Martin will forever remain in the annals of history next to Medgar Evers and Emmett Till as symbols for the fight for equal justice for all.

MARTIN: Mark O'Mara, one of Zimmerman's lawyers said his client wouldn't have even been charged with the crime if Zimmerman was black.

MARK O'MARA: What happened was this became a focus for a civil rights event, which again, is a wonderful event to have, but if only those who decide to condemn Mr. Zimmerman as quickly and as viciously as they did, would have taken just a little bit of time to find out who it was that they were condemning, it would never have happened.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD PROTESTING)

MARTIN: After the verdict was read, many outside the courthouse expressed disillusionment.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Heartbroken. Heartbroken for Trayvon's parents, me as a parent, as a grandmother. Got young grandson's coming up there in society. This shouldn't have happened.

MARTIN: Supporters of George Zimmerman were less vocal. One man, Ron Sherrard, was also outside the courthouse. He said he felt justice had been done.

RON SHERRARD: He was arrested, he was tried. Hopefully, we can get past this.

MARTIN: Trayvon Martin supporters are expected to protest around the country today.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTIN: You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News.

Coming up, reaction to the verdict from outside the courthouse in Sanford, Florida. And we speak with Ben Jealous of the NAACP. He says the group is not done fighting. They're petitioning the Department of Justice to investigate whether or not Trayvon Martin's civil rights were violated.

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