Karen Bass, U.S. Representative, 37th District:
“I am saddened and outraged by the verdict reached in the murder of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old teenager who’s only crime was walking home on a rainy night.
“In our sadness we must not forget the fight for justice doesn’t end with this verdict and it is my sincere hope that the Martin family will explore civil penalties to help bring some closure to the senseless murder of their son.
“We cannot be silent when a young teenager is needlessly profiled, harassed and gunned down by individuals who choose to take law enforcement into their own hands.”
Barbara Boxer, U.S. senator:
“I respect the fact that the jury has spoken in the state of Florida v. George Zimmerman case, but I don’t think this should be the last word. I fully agree with the decision of the Justice Department to review the facts of this case to determine whether Trayvon Martin’s civil rights were violated.
“Trayvon Martin’s death was a tragedy and has raised many sensitive and important issues. We should explore every avenue in an effort to ensure that something like this never happens again.”
Maxine Waters, U.S. Representative, 43rd District:
“I am disappointed with the verdict in the state of Florida vs. George Zimmerman case. My heart goes out to Trayvon Martin’s parents and the struggle that they have endured in an attempt to achieve justice for their son. Like many across the country, I do not believe that justice has been served. I join the NAACP and many others in urging the Department of Justice to review the case and determine whether criminal civil rights charges can be pursued.”
Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles County supervisor (excerpt from a letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder):
“The late Senator Edward Kennedy believed that civil rights remain America’s great unfinished business. George Zimmerman’s acquittal by a Florida jury for second degree murder and manslaughter should not absolve us of Trayvon Martin’s wrongful death. Federal civil rights statutes allow for the criminal prosecution of ordinary citizens when racial motivation results in bodily injury. Federal intervention will do what the Florida court did not do: that is to squarely address the issue of race and the role that it played in the wrongful death of young Trayvon Martin.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson, L.A. Urban Policy Roundtable president:
“The Justice Department has the authority and the power to bring civil rights charges against [George] Zimmerman for violating [Trayvon] Martin’s individual rights to freedom from undue harm and freedom of movement in a public place. This strikes to the heart of the constitutional right of an individual to life, liberty and due process. City councils in various cities nationally by supporting the national call for a federal prosecution of Zimmerman will send the strong message that city officials regard the violation of Martin’s rights and that of any other citizens as inviolate.”
John E. Page, National Bar Association president:
“We are extremely disappointed by the verdict in the case of state of Florida v. George Zimmerman. As lawyers, we respect the rule of law, but in this instance the Zimmerman verdict sadly highlights the continued injustices Black Americans face in the U.S. legal system.
“The verdict says an unarmed college-bound Black teen can be profiled, stalked, confronted and killed by an armed neighborhood watchman with hollow tip point bullets. We express our heartfelt condolences to Trayvon Martin’s family on this tragic verdict. We also say ‘Enough is Enough. It is not OK to kill our youth.’”
Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers president:
“While we believe in the rule of law and the jury has spoken, the implications of the acquittal are profound. It is very disappointing that a racially profiled, unarmed African American young man wearing a hoodie can be shot dead and there be no consequences for the perpetrator. This case reminds us that the path to racial justice is still a long one, and that our legal and moral systems do not always mesh. The proceedings in the Sanford, Fla., courtroom may well have dealt with the criminal aspects of the case, as defined by Florida law, but we will continue to deal with the moral ones. As the AFT pledged in a resolution passed at our 2012 convention, we remain steadfast in our commitment to fight for laws, policies and practices that will prohibit racial profiling at the federal, state and local levels.
Benjamin Crump, lawyer for Trayvon Martin’s parents:
“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.”
Roslyn M. Brock, NAACP chairman:
“Today, justice failed Trayvon Martin and his family. We call immediately for the Justice Department to conduct an investigation into the civil rights violations committed against Trayvon Martin. This case has re-energized the movement to end racial profiling in the United States.”
Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP president:
“We are outraged and heartbroken over today’s verdict. We stand with Trayvon’s family and we are called to act. We will pursue civil rights charges with the Department of Justice, we will continue to fight for the removal of Stand Your Ground laws in every state, and we will not rest until racial profiling in all its forms is outlawed.”
Adora Obi Nweze, NAACP Florida State Conference president:
“We lost a young man due to senseless violence, but justice did not prevail. Last year we pushed for the arrest of George Zimmerman and a thorough investigation and trial. Today, we are still called to act. No one should be allowed to use this law to commit a senseless crime again.”