George Zimmerman

George Zimmerman's defense team didn't invoke Florida's "stand your ground" defense in winning his acquittal of murder in last year's shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

But the specter of the 2005 law loomed, inescapably, over the proceedings.

It was inevitable that the racially fraught trial would again catapult Florida's law — which extends protections for the use of deadly force far beyond the traditional bounds of one's home — as well as those in 21-plus states with similar self-defense measures into the nation's consciousness.

Looking ahead after the not guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman for the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin — a case that reignited the national discussion about race relations:

Calm largely prevailed after a jury acquitted George Zimmerman Saturday night in the killing of Trayvon Martin. Law enforcement and community leaders had prepared for potential unrest, and riots had been feared for months. Slate's Dave Weigel sums up the fears:

Zimmerman's Legal Fight May Continue

Jul 15, 2013

Thousands of demonstrators from across the country – chanting, praying and even fighting tears – protested a jury’s decision to clear neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager while the Justice Department considered whether to file criminal civil rights charges.

Rallies on Sunday were largely peaceful as demonstrators voiced their support for 17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s family and decried Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict as a miscarriage of justice.

Speaking at a luncheon for the Delta Sigma Theta sorority in Washington, D.C., Attorney General Eric Holder said he shared concerns about the "tragic, unnecessary shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., last year."

A little more than a day after a jury handed down a not-guilty verdict for George Zimmerman, thousands of people gathered in cities across the country to express their anger and dismay.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

The ripples from the acquittal of George Zimmerman continued to spread far from Sanford over the weekend. Sunday night, nearly 200 people gathered in Tampa's Curtis Hixon Park to denounce the verdict.

"We chant for justice!" came the cry from the bullhorn, as scores of people gathered along Ashley Drive in the front of the park.

A few weeks ago, Levar Burton, the actor best-known for his role as Geordi LaForge in Star Trek and the host of the long-running kids' show Reading Rainbow, appeared on a CNN roundtable and offered up a sobering how-to on driving while black:

Civil rights groups reacted with disappointment to the not-guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial.

After the outcome became known late Saturday, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund said it would push for the Department of Justice to bring civil rights charges against Zimmerman, who was accused in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old black youth Trayvon Martin.

Months of intense media coverage, weeks of courtroom testimony and hours of jury deliberations boiled down to a not-guilty verdict for George Zimmerman, delivered by a jury of six women late Saturday.

The decision came 17 months after Zimmerman, a self-styled volunteer watchman, fatally shot unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin during a confrontation in a Sanford, Fla., community.

George Zimmerman's brother, Robert Zimmerman, Jr., tells NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday that despite the acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, it will be a "long time" before his brother's life returns to normal.

"Believe me, he is overwhelmed," the elder brother said in an interview with host Rachel Martin. "And now it is time for him to readjust to that concept of being a free man, in every sense of the word."

"I'm ashamed at how long it took me to realize why so many people in my family have been consumed with looking church-ready when they step out the door regardless of time or day."

That Facebook quote came from Phyllis Fletcher, an African-American colleague at KUOW in Seattle. And it reminded me of something my sister once told me when a white friend teased her about taking too long to get ready when they went on joint shopping expeditions. "Why are you getting all dressed up? Just throw on some jeans, like me, and let's go."

The jury in the murder trial of George Zimmerman on Saturday acquitted the former neighborhood watch volunteer of all charges in the 2012 fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin during a scuffle in a gated Florida community.

The six-woman jury announced its verdict of not guilty at about 10 p.m. ET, after more than 16 hours of deliberations over two days.

Updated 10:27 p.m. ET

The jury in the murder trial of George Zimmerman on Saturday acquitted the former neighborhood watch volunteer of all charges in the 2012 fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin during a scuffle in a gated Florida community.

The six-woman jury announced its verdict of not guilty at about 10 p.m. ET, after more than 16 hours of deliberations over two days.

Note: The photo we're talking about is at the top of this Gawker article. Viewers may find it disturbing.

With the verdict looming in the trial of George Zimmerman, who's charged in the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, suddenly speculation has turned to this: the possibility of angry protesters turning to violence if the outcome isn't the one they envisioned.

(This story was last updated at 6:20 p.m. ET)

Six jurors left a Sanford, Fla., courtroom on Friday to begin deliberating the fate of George Zimmerman, who stands accused of murder in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

After several hours of deliberations and a request for an inventory of evidence on Friday, the jury, all women, adjourned for the evening. It was scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. Saturday.

As the nation awaits a verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman, police and city leaders in Sanford and South Florida say they have taken precautionary steps for the possibility of mass protests or even civil unrest if Zimmerman, who identifies himself as Hispanic, is acquitted, particularly in African-American neighborhoods where passions run strongest over the case.

For months, Sanford officials have been meeting with community organizations and the federal justice department to help bridge divides within the city ahead of the verdict.

Nearly 17 months after the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin — a death that would spark protests across the nation — a jury is about to begin considering whether defendant George Zimmerman acted in self defense or should be convicted of murder or manslaughter.

Dalia Colón / WUSF

As you probably know by now, George Zimmerman is the neighborhood watch volunteer accused of murder in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager. Zimmerman says he shot Martin in self-defense.

But whether the jury ends up siding with prosecutors or Zimmerman's defense lawyers, plenty of Floridians will disagree with the verdict. We look at how some in Tampa Bay are responding to the case.

 

Orlando Davis is program director and morning show host for Wild 94.1 FM.

Last year after George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin, Davis got permission from his general manager to break format and have a longer discussion about Martin's death. The station stopped the music and moved commercials to accommodate the conversation.

"We did a nice three-hour forum with the Hillsborough prosecutor Felix Vega, with [Tampa Bay Times media critic] Eric Deggans, with a psychologist who came in and talked about the emotional side of dealing with this, as far as a culture," Davis said. "And we took calls, and we really felt that it was important for us to get in front of it because we felt like Trayvon or people who are like Trayvon listen to our station."

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