ZIMMERMAN PROTESTERS PHOTOS: LOS ANGELES FREEWAY MOBBED IN SECOND DAY OF DEMONSTRATIONS

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Protests erupt from coast to coast after George Zimmerman goes FREE: Times Square swarmed and Los Angeles freeway mobbed in second day of demonstrations

  • Angry marchers shut down Los Angeles freeway
  • Oakland activists burn American flags
  • Rubber bullets fired into crowds by Los Angeles Police Department officers
  • Arrests began around 11pm in New York City protests as tensions rose on march toward Harlem
  • Florida jury took just over 16 hours to reach the verdict which was handed down on Saturday
  • Twitter users calls neighborhood watch volunteer ‘dead man walking’

By Rachel Quigley, Jessica Jerreat, James Nye and Louise Boyle

PUBLISHED:  14 July 2013

Demonstrations, from Florida where the trial took place to Atlanta, DC and New York, have remained largely peaceful–although pockets of violence had erupted in Oakland, California.

Emotional crowds carried signs calling for justice as police assembled close by to monitor activity – a New York march culminated with a group of thousands gathering in Times Square before continuing towards Harlem as Sunday night wore on and Los Angeles protestors blocked a city freeway as they took their anger with Saturday’s verdict to the streets.

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Forceful: Thousands of protestors gathered in Times Square on Sunday night to demonstrate against the acquittal of George Zimmerman in Florida late Saturday. The march continued up 5th Avenue toward Harlem when arrests beganForceful: Thousands of protestors gathered in Times Square on Sunday night to demonstrate against the acquittal of George Zimmerman in Florida late Saturday. The march continued up 5th Avenue toward Harlem when arrests began
 
 
Fever pitch: Activists demand justice for Trayvon Martin after marching to Times Square from New York's Union Square July 14. The march continued uptown toward Harlem as tensions mounted and arrests beganFever pitch: Activists demand justice for Trayvon Martin after marching to Times Square from New York’s Union Square July 14. The march continued uptown toward Harlem as tensions mounted and arrests began

Calling for justice: Marchers hold up their hands in solidarity as they gather on Times Square SundayCalling for justice: Marchers hold up their hands in solidarity as they gather on Times Square Sunday

 
 
Massive protest: In Times Square on Sunday, thousands rally in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin trialMassive protest: In Times Square on Sunday, thousands rally in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin trial
 
Solidarity: Protestors chanted 'Justice for Trayvon' into the night at rallies across America, including a gathering of thousands in New York City's Times Square on Sunday nightSolidarity: Protestors chanted ‘Justice for Trayvon’ into the night at rallies across America, including a gathering of thousands in New York City’s Times Square on Sunday night
 
tkSonia Medina, of Suwanee, Ga., holds a sign while joining a protest the day after George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the 2012 shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin, Sunday, July 14, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
 
Flare up: Police try to calm a screaming protestor in Manhattan. Tensions flared as a group of thousands marched toward Harlem late Sunday and arrests began before 11pmFlare up: Police try to calm a screaming protestor in Manhattan. Tensions flared as a group of thousands marched toward Harlem late Sunday and arrests began before 11pm
 
'Justice for Trayvon': Protestors of all races and backgrounds swarmed Times Square, angry at the George Zimmerman acquittal. 'Justice for Trayvon' was the night's call to arms‘Justice for Trayvon’: Protestors of all races and backgrounds swarmed Times Square, angry at the George Zimmerman acquittal. ‘Justice for Trayvon’ was the night’s call to arms

Enough protestors had gathered on foot in Los Angeles to shut down the city’s 10 freeway.

With cars backed up in their wake, the mob chanted their rallying cry: ‘Who’s streets? Our street, our freeway.’

Police were unable to clear the roadway and allow traffic to pass until around 7pm and photos show a face-to-face clash between cops and protestors on the highway.

Elsewhere in Los Angeles protestors have had confrontations with police, according to NBC4,  which reports that LAPD has fired rubber bullets into the crowd.

Bean bag rounds were also used to disperse the Los Angeles crowd and police said D cell batteries and rocks had been thrown at them.

The New York City march made it to Times Square from Union Square in Manhattan where, after their numbers began to swell, the marcher continued up 5th Avenue toward Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood.

Leaders yelled calls for justice into bullhorns and hundreds of fists remained raised in the air as neon advertisements backlit the fiery crowd.

As protestors marched once more, they took to 5th Avenue with the darkened backdrop of Central Park, and headed north. As they made their may uptown, tensions seemed to rise and arrests began before 11pm.

 
Pinched: At least one arrest was made in the Los Angeles protests Sunday when demonstrators on foot blocked traffic on a freewayPinched: At least one arrest was made in the Los Angeles protests Sunday when demonstrators on foot blocked traffic on a freeway
 
Dangerous: Los Angeles demonstrators began to block traffic on the Interstate 10 freeway while protesting the acquittal of George Zimmerman SundayDangerous: Los Angeles demonstrators began to block traffic on the Interstate 10 freeway while protesting the acquittal of George Zimmerman Sunday
 
Halted: Traffic came to a halt Sunday evening on Los Angeles' I-10 freeway as Trayvon Martin supporters swarmed the road in protest of his killer's acquittal, stopping all trafficHalted: Traffic came to a halt Sunday evening on Los Angeles’ I-10 freeway as Trayvon Martin supporters swarmed the road in protest of his killer’s acquittal, stopping all traffic
 
 
Blocked: With emotions high and traffic stopped, tensions rose as protestors blocked the Los Angeles freewayBlocked: With emotions high and traffic stopped, tensions rose as protestors blocked the Los Angeles freeway

Epicenter: A group of about 175 gathered to march to the federal courthouse in Tampa on Sunday. Protests were sparked in Florida and nationwide after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the murder of unarmed teen Trayvon MartinEpicenter: A group of about 175 gathered to march to the federal courthouse in Tampa on Sunday. Protests were sparked in Florida and nationwide after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the murder of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin

Angry: Thousands of protestors march through New York City calling for justice in after Saturday's acquittal of George Zimmerman July 14Angry: Thousands of protestors march through New York City calling for justice in after Saturday’s acquittal of George Zimmerman July 14

 
Justice: Protestors scream a call for justice in the memory of slain teen Trayvon Martin during a July 14 march from Manhattan's Union Square to Times SquareJustice: Protestors scream a call for justice in the memory of slain teen Trayvon Martin during a July 14 march from Manhattan’s Union Square to Times Square
 
laAngry: Lisa Archer, 24, of Atlanta, center, chants as protestors march, Sunday, July 14, 2013, in Atlanta the day after George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the 2012 shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin
 
People march during a demonstration at Union Square in New York on July 14, 2013Taking action: People march during a demonstration at Union Square on Sunday

In Chicago, hundreds took to downtown streets in anger over Zimmerman’s acquittal Sunday.

The racially mixed, insistent crowd held pictures of Martin as the called for justice.

A particularly stirring sign showed the likenesses of Emmett Till, the man whose brutal murder for flirting with a white woman in 1955 helped catalyze the civil rights movement.

‘We’ve gone from approved killings in Mississippi in 1955 to approved killings in Florida in 2013,’ Airicka Gordon Taylor, protestor and cousin to Till, told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Protesters in the densely African American city of Atlanta, Georgia took to the streets early Sunday.

Some wore hooded sweaters in the 80-degree heat — similar to what Martin was wearing when he was shot — and carried cans of iced tea and bags of Skittles, which Martin was carrying when he was killed.

Word of the rally spread quickly via social media sites on Sunday, with demonstrators using the Twitter hashtag #MarchForTrayvonATL to tell others about the rally and to share photos.

In Boston, about 500 racially mixed protesters left their demonstration site in the Roxbury neighborhood and started marching in the streets alongside police escorts on motorcycle and on foot. Police called the march ‘very orderly.’

‘Morally it cannot be right, that a child cannot go about his business and go to the store,’ said Maura Twomey, 57, an acupuncturist. ‘Racism is not just an issue for the black community. It’s for all of us.’

Demonstrators raised signs saying ‘We Demand Justice,’ ‘Stop Racial Profiling’ and ‘Never Forget. Never Again. Justice for Trayvon.’

 
Prepared: Police stand at the ready as protestors demonstrating against the acquittal of George Zimmerman take to New York City streets SundayPrepared: Police stand at the ready as protestors demonstrating against the acquittal of George Zimmerman take to New York City streets Sunday
 
 
Incredulous: Protesters get a round of applause as they spell out their opinions with giant letters on the sidewalk across the street from the federal courthouse in Tampa July 14Incredulous: Protesters get a round of applause as they spell out their opinions with giant letters on the sidewalk across the street from the federal courthouse in Tampa July 14

Jebiah Jones, 3, holds a sign as her mother Keiota Jones, stands behind her during a protest in AtlantaSuspicious: Jebiah Jones, 3, holds a sign as her mother Keiota Jones, stands behind her during a protest in Atlanta

 
A demonstrator wears a hoodie during the Atlanta protestHoodie: A demonstrator wears a hoodie during the Atlanta protest
 
 
Lisa Archer, 24, of Atlanta, left, chants with fellow demonstrators during a protest the day after George Zimmerman was found not guilty Support for Trayvon: Lisa Archer, 24, of Atlanta, left, chants with fellow demonstrators during a protest the day after George Zimmerman was found not guilty
 
A woman holds a sign during a demonstration at Union Square in New York on July 14, 2013Signs: A woman holds a sign during a demonstration at Union Square in New York on July 14, 2013
 
Protestors converge on Union Square next to a chalk outline with the caption 'We are all Trayvon'Chalk outline: Protestors converge on Union Square next to a chalk outline with the caption ‘We are all Trayvon’

Zimmerman, a 29-year-old Hispanic, looked visibly relieved at the Seminole court on Saturday evening after the jury of six women reached their conclusion that he had justifiably killed the unarmed black 17-year-old last February.

In Oakland, California, long a hotbed of racial tension, some protestors turned violent – vandalizing police cars, breaking windows and setting fire to garbage cans.

Others burned the American flag Sunday evening. One photo from the protests in the city shows men dousing a flag in lighter fluid and setting it alight.

More demonstrations were planned under the banner of ‘Justice 4 Trayvon.’ At least three separate protests were scheduled for New York City alone – one in lower Manhattan, one in Harlem an a third in Brooklyn.

The Oakland demonstration followed a raucous but largely peaceful rally in San Francisco.

 
Chuck Helms holds a sign during a demonstration at Union Square in New York on July 14, 2013Making a stand: Chuck Helms holds a sign during a demonstration at Union Square in New York on July 14, 2013
 
Marchers pass a New York Police Department officer during a demonstration at Union Square Justice: Marchers pass a New York Police Department officer during a demonstration at Union Square
 
A man holds a placard at the Union Square rallyShowing their love: A man holds a placard at the Union Square rally

Violence: Protestors in Oakland, California, set fire to garbage cans and and battered cars during a protest against the George Zimmerman acquittal on SaturdayViolence: Protestors in Oakland, California, set fire to garbage cans and and battered cars during a protest against the George Zimmerman acquittal on Saturday

 
Demonstrators also burned an American flag to show their displeasure with the jury verdict, which saw Zimmerman go free Demonstrators also burned an American flag to show their displeasure with the jury verdict, which saw Zimmerman go free

Distress: A mother who was listening to the end of the trial with her children weeps at the jury's decisionDistress: A mother who was listening to the end of the Zimmerman trial with her children weeps at the jury’s decision

 
Rally: Protesters in Los Angeles gather to show their response to the Zimmerman trial on Saturday night as demonstrations spread across the country Rally: Protesters in Los Angeles gather to show their response to the Zimmerman trial on Saturday night as demonstrations spread across the country
 
Prayers: Tammy Haynes, left, Whitney Tillman, center, and Crystal Haynes wear Trayvon Martin hoodies and T-shirts during a sermon at the St Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Sanford on SundayPrayers: Tammy Haynes, left, Whitney Tillman, center, and Crystal Haynes wear Trayvon Martin hoodies and T-shirts during a sermon at the St Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Sanford on Sunday
 
Emotional day: Nysha King, 16, wipes away tears during sermon at a youth service at a baptist church in Florida on SundayEmotional day: Nysha King, 16, wipes away tears during sermon at a youth service at a baptist church in Florida on Sunday
 
Emotional reactionsL A woman holding a child reacts to the verdict outside Seminole County Court where George Zimmerman was found not guilty Emotional reactionsL A woman holding a child reacts to the verdict outside Seminole County Court where George Zimmerman was found not guilty
 
Making a statement: Worshippers at the Middle Collegiate Church hold prayer services wearing hoodies in support of slain teenager Trayvon Martin in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in his trial in New YorkMaking a statement: Worshippers at the Middle Collegiate Church hold prayer services wearing hoodies in support of slain teenager Trayvon Martin in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in his trial in New York
 
Embrace: Members of the New York congregation hug each other on Sunday after the news that Zimmerman would walk freeEmbrace: Members of the New York congregation hug each other on Sunday after the news that Zimmerman would walk free

Police said officers escorted demonstrators as they marched on the city’s Mission District. The group was dispersed by 10pm.

The verdict also sparked protests in Los Angeles, where demonstrators gathered in Leimert Park, the city’s historically black neighborhood. Police were put on tactical alert, but there were no reports of any arrests.

More than 40 people gathered at Sacramento City Hall, and the Sacramento Bee reported that protesters chanted: ‘What do we want? Justice. When do you we want it? Now. For who? Trayvon.’

 
 
Violence: A BART police vehicle is vandalized during a protest after George Zimmerman was found not guiltyViolence: A BART police vehicle is vandalized during a protest after George Zimmerman was found not guilty
 
 
 
 
Damage done: A window is smashed at the Sears store on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, California following the verdict from the five-week trialDamage done: A window is smashed at the Sears store on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, California following the verdict from the five-week trial
 
Challenging the system: Protesters hold an image of Trayvon Martin while marching in the Leimert Park area of Los Angeles, CaliforniaChallenging the system: Protesters hold an image of Trayvon Martin while marching in the Leimert Park area of Los Angeles, California
 
Trouble: A protester falls while others run as Los Angeles Police officers try to remove them from the intersection on SaturdayTrouble: A protester falls while others run as Los Angeles Police officers try to remove them from the intersection on Saturday
Despair: Supporters of Trayvon Martin say the verdict is a slap in the face for the American peopleDespair: Supporters of Trayvon Martin say the verdict is a slap in the face for the American people

A banner behind speakers read: ‘No justice, no peace!’

The verdict on the case that has bitterly divided the nation, after the jury took more than 16 hours and 20 minutes over two days to reach their conclusion.

They unanimously decided the neighborhood watch volunteer and would-be cop justifiably killed the unarmed teen because he believed his life was threatened on that February night in Florida last year.

As the judge announced that Zimmerman had no other business with the Seminole court just after 10pm on Saturday, his mother, who was sat in the court, beamed a smile for the first time during the trial and his emotional wife broke down in tears.

Victim: Zimmerman was accused of murdering the unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin after following him with a gun last yearVictim: Zimmerman was accused of murdering the unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin after following him with a gun last year
 
Relief: George Zimmerman breaks into a smile of relief a few moments after being cleared of all chargesRelief: George Zimmerman breaks into a smile of relief a few moments after being cleared of all charges

 

Zimmerman jubilantly embraced both – realizing that after a year and a half of living as a hermit and virtual recluse – he was now a free man.

Trayvon’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, were not in court to hear the verdict. They later took to Twitter to acknowledge their deep disappointment at the verdict.

tweet from his father read: ‘God blessed Me & Sybrina with Tray and even in his death I know my baby proud of the FIGHT we along with all of you put up for him GOD BLESS.’

As the long-awaited verdict drew near, police and city leaders in the Orlando suburb of Sanford and other parts of the U.S. nervously said they were taking precautions against the possibility of mass protests or unrest.

‘There is no party in this case who wants to see any violence,’ Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger said immediately after jurors began deliberating.

‘We have an expectation upon this announcement that our community will continue to act peacefully.’

Angry crowds outside the courthouse spoke about their outrage at the verdict, yelling: ‘The system has failed us’, and tens of thousands took to Twitter to voice their discontent with the justice system and jury.

Protesters were expected to take to the streets again on Sunday after largely peaceful demonstrations.

 
Outrage: A man screams during a demonstration in downtown Manhattan after the news that George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the 2012 shooting death of MartinOutrage: A man screams during a demonstration in downtown Manhattan after the news that George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the 2012 shooting death of Martin
 
Workers board up windows at Flora restaurant in downtown Oakland, California early on Sunday following eruptions of violenceWorkers board up windows at Flora restaurant in downtown Oakland, California early on Sunday following eruptions of violence
Public feeling: Crowds gather in Union Square, New York, to wait for the verdict in the trialPublic feeling: Crowds gather in Union Square, New York, to wait for the verdict in the trial
Shock: A Florida woman cries as she hears the not guilty verdict verdict outside the court houseShock: A Florida woman cries as she hears the not guilty verdict verdict outside the court house
On guard: Los Angeles police gather at the edge of a rally that began as Zimmerman was cleared of all chargesOn guard: Los Angeles police gather at the edge of a rally that began as Zimmerman was cleared of all charges

Rallies were planned in Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego and San Francisco, a day after Zimmerman was cleared of all charges in the February 2012 death of Martin.

The gatherings on Saturday night ranged from a few dozen to a couple hundred people. In Oakland, protesters broke windows at the Oakland Tribune and started small fires in the streets.

Local media reports said some Oakland marchers vandalized a police squad car and police formed a line to block the protesters’ path.

Footage from a television helicopter showed people spray painting anti-police graffiti. Protesters also burned an American and a California state flag and spray painted Alameda County’s Davidson courthouse.

In New York, people came on to the streets around midnight to protest, waving candles and signs. One showed a picture of Emmett Till –  a black teenager who was tortured and beaten to death by white men in Mississippi in 1955. 

Churches also made note of the verdict on Sunday morning, with many leaders speaking about the case and urging peace in the aftermath.

Some congregants wore hooded sweatshirts, as Martin had when he died, or shirts with the teen’s picture.

Relief: George Zimmerman's wife, Shellie, celebrates with family and friends following her husband's not guilty verdictRelief: George Zimmerman’s wife, Shellie, celebrates with family and friends following her husband’s not guilty verdict

 
Emotional scenes: Zimmerman's family and legal team celebrate after the verdict was read outEmotional scenes: Zimmerman’s family and legal team celebrate after the verdict was read out

WATCH VIDEO HERE:

 

 
Dramatic moment jury acquits George Zimmerman of Trayvon Martin…
 

 

Despite calls for calm from Trayvon’s parents and legal officials moments after the verdict was read out, people unleashed their fury on Twitter and described Zimmerman as ‘a dead man walking’.

Celebrities weighed in on the outcome. Beyoncé called for a moment of silence at her concert in Tennessee after the verdict was read and sang the chorus of Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You.

Music producer Russell Simmons wrote on Twitter that ‘we must remain peaceful. No matter what, remain peaceful’.

Simmons then posted a blog entry that said he’d be supporting the Trayvon Martin Foundation in helping to repeal laws like Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. He signed off, ‘God bless you little brother. Rest in peace.’

WATCH VIDEO HERE:

 
Prosecution and defense teams react to Zimmerman’s not guilty
 

 
 
Relief: George Zimmerman's family celebrate as the jury clear him of all chargesRelief: George Zimmerman’s family celebrate as the jury clear him of all charges
 
 
 
Grief: Trayvon's parents Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin were not in court for the verdictGrief: Trayvon’s parents Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin were not in court for the verdict

Zimmerman’s legal team said the verdict had not sunk in for him yet, and that Zimmerman was worried about the reaction from the nation and for his future.

Defense attorney Mark O’Mara said that Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie, had been living ‘like a hermit’ and were not working because they feared for their safety.

Zimmerman is said to be in hiding and wears a bullet proof vest when outside, according to the New York Times.

Defense attorney Mark O Mara said: ‘[Zimmerman] has to be cautious and protective of his safety because there is a fringe element who have said on Twitter and elsewhere they want revenge.’

He added that after everyone left the room at the end of the trial, Zimmerman thanked his defense teams and then became very emotional as he realized the trial was done.

 

 
Martin family disappointed by Zimmerman acquittal
 

 

‘I’m not sure how you can feel after 16 months of trauma. It’s probably going to settle on him tonight when he is with his family and realizes he doesn’t have to come back to court,’ Mr O Mara said.

Robert Zimmerman Jr. said his brother was ‘going to be looking around his shoulder for the rest of his life’.

‘Now the jury has spoken, and we are exonerated as a family,’ he told CNN. ‘And more importantly, George is exonerated.’

Benjamin Crump, the attorney for the Martin family, acknowledged the disappointment of Trayvon’s  supporters, as he ranked the teenager alongside civil rights heroes Medgar Evers and Emmett Till in the history of the fight for equal justice.

Despite this racially charged language he urged them not to resort to violence. ‘For Trayvon to rest in peace, we must all be peaceful,’ he said.

It took the jury five weeks to see more than 200 pieces of evidence and hear 56 witnesses in a trial that has gripped the nation, the jury heard two very different accounts of what happened on that fateful rainy night of February 26, 2012.

 

They had been given the chance to convict Zimmerman of manslaughter but did not do so, despite asking for a clarification of the charge earlier in the evening.

After the verdict, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda said he was disappointed but respected the jury’s decision.

‘We respect the verdict but I’m disappointed. This is only the second murder case I lost. I thought he was guilty,’ he told a press conference.

 
Emotional: Trayvon's parents Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton on day 20 of the trial into their son's shootingEmotional: Trayvon’s parents Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton on day 20 of the trial into their son’s shooting
 
 

GZ Pressure: George Zimmerman wipes perspiration from his face after arriving in the courtroom for his trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Florida July 12, 2013

 
Tense: Assistant state attorney John Guy, left, responds to defense attorney Don West, right, after another angry exchange of words over evidence Tense: Assistant state attorney John Guy, left, responds to defense attorney Don West, right, after another angry exchange of words over evidence
 
Opposite sides: Defense counsel Mark O'Mara, left, talks to prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda, right. Both men gave the closing arguments in Zimmerman's trialOpposite sides: Defense counsel Mark O’Mara, left, talks to prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda, right. Both men gave the closing arguments in Zimmerman’s trial

Florida State Attorney Angela Corey added that they had wanted to ‘get all the facts before the jury because we felt everyone had the right to know everything’.

‘To the living we owe respect, to the dead the truth. We believe we have brought out the truth.’

She added: ‘This case has never been about race or the right to bear arms. But there is no doubt Trayvon was profiled to be a criminal.’

Ms Corey added after the verdict that she believed second-degree murder was the appropriate charge because Zimmerman’s mindset ‘fit the bill of second-degree murder’.

‘We charged what we believed we could prove,’ Ms Corey said.

Ultimately, it was the defense team who won. They praised the jury, who Mr O Mara said ‘listened, took notes [and were] as engaged as everyone in the process’.

‘We are ecstatic with the results. George Zimmerman was not guilty of anything except protecting himself in self defense,’ he added after the verdict.

He said that they would seek immunity if someone decided to try to sue Zimmerman.

 
 
 
Joy: Gladys Zimmerman, centre, smiles broadly as she learns that her son has been acquittedJoy: Gladys Zimmerman, centre, smiles broadly as she learns that her son has been acquitted

Don West, who was criticized for his opening Knock Knock joke and photos of him on Twitter eating ice cream with his daughters during a break early on in the trial said he would not respond to his critics or talk about the alleged threats made against his family.

‘This trial is about George ZImmerman, not about ice creams,’ he said. ‘I still think the joke was funny but I wish I’d told it better.’

A Timeline of the Case that Divided America: The Trial of George Zimmerman for the Murder of Trayvon Martin

February 26th, 2012 – George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain in Sanford, Florida, calls 911 to make a report of ‘a suspicious person’.

He is told by officers not to leave his vehicle but disregards this. Moments later residents report hearing a gunshot and police arrive to find Trayvon Martin dead.

Zimmerman tells police that he shot Martin in self-defense – is not arrested – and this noted in the police report.

February 27th, 2012 – Trayvon Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, files a missing persons report when his son fails to return home.

Officers with the Sanford Police Department go to the Martin household and inform Tracy that his son is believed dead – Martin identifies Trayvon Martin’s body.

March 8th, 2012 – Police investigators receive a fax from the Altamonte Family Pratice that contains medical records identifying George Zimmerman’s injuries sustained on the evening of the shooting.

They acknowledge a scalp wound, a nasal wound and describe ‘assault by other means’.

March 12th, 2012 – Sanford Police Chieg Bill Lee explains that Zimmerman has not been charged because to date no evidence has been provided to prove his claims contrary.

March 13th, 2012 – Sanford Police Department’s homicide detective Christopher Serino says that he recommends that Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter. He says that Zimmerman ‘failed to identify himself’ as a neighborhood watch member on two occasions that night.

He says he believed Zimmerman’s injuries to be ‘marginally consistent with a life-threatening episode, as described by him, during which neither a deadly weapon nor deadly force were deployed by Trayvon Martin.’

March 14th, 2012 – The case is turned over to Florida State Attorney Norm Wilfinger

March 15th, 2012 – George Zimmerman’s fahter, Robert Zimmerman, writes a letter to the Orlando Sentinel in which he explains that his son is Hispanic and is being erroneously portrayed as a racist.

March 19th, 2012 – The Justice Department and the FBI announce they have launched an investigation into the death of Trayvon Martin

March 22nd, 2012 – A petition calling for the arrest of Zimmerman, created by Trayvon Martin’s parents, garners more than 1.3 million online signatures.

March 22nd, 2012 – Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee says he is to stand down ‘temporarily’ as head of the department.

March 23rd, 2012 – President Barack Obama makes a public announcement on the death to say that the incident requires ‘soul searching’

March 24th, 2012 – Some members of the New Black Panther Party, offer a $10,000 reward for the ‘capture’ of George Zimmerman

March 28th, 2012 – Zimmerman’s father appears on television to say that his son was forced to shoot Martin after being badly beaten by the teen

April 11th, 2012 – Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder and his new lawyer, Mark O’Mara announces that Zimmerman has handed himself over to the authorities

April 20th, 2012 – During his bond hearing, Zimmerman apologizes to Trayvon Martin’s family for the loss of their son and his bail is set at $150,000

June 1st, 2012 – Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. orders Zimmerman to surrender after his bail is revoked after the prosecution shows that Zimmerman and his wife Shellie misrepresented their finances when the bond was originally set in April

June 3rd, 2012 – George Zimmerman is taken into custody at the John E. Polk Correctional Facility in Seminole County

June 12, 2012 – George Zimmerman’s wife Shellie is arrested and charged with perjury

July 5th, 2012 – Zimmerman’s bond is set at $1 million and the next day he is released after posting 10 percent of the bond

July 18th, 2012 – George Zimmerman appears on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program to deny any wrong doing

March 18th, 2013 – Mark O’Mara opts not to seek a pretrial Stand your Ground immunity hearing for George Zimmerman

April 30th, 2013 – Zimmerman decides to waive his right to a Stand your Ground hearing and opts to go for a self-defense trial

June 20th, 2013 – An all-female jury is selected

June 24th, 2013 – The trial begins

July 11th and 12th – The State and Defense give their closing arguments

July 13th – A not-guilty verdict for George Zimmerman is announced

Mr O Mara said: ‘Nothing can bring back Trayvon Martin. Whenever a young life is lost it is a tragedy’ adding that he extended his sympathy to the teenager’s family.

He added however: ‘None of [the evidence] shows George Zimmerman as an aggressor.’

The prosecution had started the case with a powerful and graphic opening statement and it was in this vein they proceeded with their case.

 
Footage: CCTV footage shows Trayvon buying Skittles and a soda at a 7/11Footage: CCTV footage shows Trayvon buying Skittles and a soda at a 7/11
 
Evidence: A shirt worn by Zimmerman on the night of the shooting was used as evidence in the trialEvidence: A shirt worn by Zimmerman on the night of the shooting was used as evidence in the trial
 
Zimmerman
Zimmerman
 

Injuries: Photos of cuts to the back of Zimmerman’s head and his face were included in the evidence

 
Fatal mark: A bullet hole can be seen in the front of the hooded top Trayvon was wearing on the night he diedFatal mark: A bullet hole can be seen in the front of the hooded top Trayvon was wearing on the night he died
 
Crime scene: Trayvon was shot outside with Florida complexCrime scene: Trayvon was shot outside with Florida complex

Zimmerman wasn’t arrested for 44 days after the February 26, 2012, shooting as police in Sanford insisted that Florida’s Stand Your Ground law on self-defense prohibited them from bringing charges. Florida gives people wide latitude to use deadly force if they fear death or bodily harm.

Trayvon’s parents, along with civil rights leaders such as the Rev Jesse Jackson and Rev Al Sharpton, argued that Zimmerman, whose father is white and whose mother is Hispanic, had racially profiled their son.

They also accused investigators of dragging their feet because Trayvon was a black teenager.

Before a special prosecutor assigned to the case ordered Zimmerman’s arrest, thousands of protesters gathered in Sanford, Miami, New York and elsewhere. President Obama also added to the case, saying that if he had a son, ‘he’d look like Trayvon’.

The Rev Al Sharpton continued to campaign after the verdict, saying: ‘The acquittal of George Zimmerman is a slap in the face to the American people but it is only the first round in the pursuit of justice.’

According to AP, he added: ‘We intend to ask the Department of Justice to move forward as they did in the Rodney King case and we will closely monitor the civil case against Mr. Zimmerman. I will convene an emergency call with preachers tonight to discuss next steps and I intend to head to Florida in the next few days.’

 
Ruling: Judge Debra Nelson hands the verdict to the court clerkRuling: Judge Debra Nelson hands the verdict to the court clerk
 
 
Reenactment: The jury had been shown a video of Zimmerman explaining his version of eventsReenactment: The jury had been shown a video of Zimmerman explaining his version of events
 

The race element could become the legacy of the trial. Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed responded to the verdict by saying: ‘The death of Trayvon Martin shows that we must all work harder to shed the dangerous stereotypes that can have devastating consequences for individuals, families and our society.’

Celebrities from Will.i.am to Miley Cyrus also took to Twitter to announce their shock at the verdict.

Will.i.am tweeted: ‘What’s wrong with the world mama!!! #whereIStheLOVE #zimmermanVSamerica.’

Sophia Bush added: ‘The wind is more than knocked out of me… My heart aches for this boy’s family. Justice System? I don’t think so,’ and Miley Cyrus tweeted to say the verdict made her ‘feel sick’.

Others, including Wyclef Jean and Mandy Moore extended their sympathies to Trayvon’s family and friends. 

A tweet from Jesse Williams however, read: ‘Verdict emblematic of a culture rooted in bloodthirsty cowardice.’

 
 
 

The first words in the trial, from state attorney John Guy, had been: ‘F***ing punks, these a**holes always get away,’ words that were repeated to the jury several times in the three weeks of testimony.

Words, they said, that proved Zimmerman acted with ill will, spite and hatred when he followed Trayvon as he was walking home from a 7/11 and, after a scuffle, shot him through the heart.

They portrayed Zimmerman as a ‘vigilante’, a ‘wannabe cop’, a man filled with hatred and frustration after a spate of burglaries in the community he felt he was responsible for protecting.

On Friday, the prosecution appealed to the emotions and the hearts of the all-women jury and in a powerful rebuttal, John Guy said: ‘Trayvon Martin was a son, a brother and a friend and the last thing he did on this Earth was to try to get home.

‘George Zimmerman didn’t shoot the teen because he had to, he shot him because he wanted to,’ repeating words he used in his opening statement.

 
 
Mother: Gladys Zimmerman said the screams on the 911 call belonged to her son GeorgeEvidence: Gladys Zimmerman said the screams on the 911 call belonged to her son GeorgeMother: Sybrina Fulton took to the stand earlier when she unequivocally stated after hearing the 911 call from February 26: 'I heard my son screaming'Mother: Sybrina Fulton took to the stand earlier when she unequivocally stated after hearing the 911 call from February 26: ‘I heard my son screaming’

In contrast, the defense took a more methodical, conversational and almost calm approach in their delivery. Mr West included his ‘Knock Knock’ joke in his opening statement, though it failed to have the desired effect.

They called only 18 witnesses to the state’s 38 and dedicated a lot of time trying to hammer home to the jury that Zimmerman feared for his life and was merely defending himself from a vicious MMA-style beating at the hands of Trayvon.

Mr O’Mara pointed out again and again in his closing argument the state did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that murder in the second-degree occurred.

‘Pure and unadulterated innocence’, he said. ‘In fact, George Zimmerman committed no crime at all.

‘My client is not guilty of anything but protecting his own life,’ he told the jury.

 
 
Reaction: Some people took to Twitter to show their disapproval of the verdictReaction: Some people took to Twitter to show their disapproval of the verdict
 
Zimmerman acquital
 
Zimmerman acquital

Central to the case and played numerous times by both legal teams over the last three weeks was the 911 call from a resident of the Retreat at Twin Lakes community.

Terrified and piercing screams for help can be heard in the background before a shot rings out, silencing them instantly.

The prosecution’s last witness was Sybrina Fulton, a mother who lost her only son. She took the stand and said unequivocally the cries for help belonged to her son.

On the same day, the defense called their first witness Gladys Zimmerman, and she – just like Sybrina – told the court it was her son George calling for help.

Convincing jurors about whose voice is screaming for help on 911 calls that captured audio of the fight was the primary goal of prosecutors and defense attorneys.

Martin’s mother, father and brother testified it’s the Miami teen screaming for help on recordings of the 911 calls made by Zimmerman’s neighbors.

Zimmerman’s mother, uncle, father and five friends told jurors it was the neighborhood watch volunteer’s voice. One of Zimmerman’s neighbors, Jayne Surdyka, says the screams were those of a boy.

Next up was Zimmerman’s uncle, retired sheriff Jorge Meza, who acted as a powerful witness to the defense, revealing he was not played the 911 call but only heard it on TV and knew instinctively who it was.

‘That voice just came and hit me. Not only did I hear the scream but I felt it. I know it was my Georgie, I felt it,’ he said while fighting back tears.

The defense also called witness after witness – neighbors, colleagues and friends of Zimmerman – who also unwaveringly testified that it was the neighborhood watch volunteer shouting for help.

Hostile: Witness Rachel Jeantel, right, continues her testimony to defense attorney Don West on day four of George Zimmerman's trial in Seminole circuit court in SanfordHostile: Witness Rachel Jeantel, right, continues her testimony to defense attorney Don West on day four of George Zimmerman’s trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford

Another point of contention was – who attacked who at the gated community? Who was the aggressor and who was the victim? Whose life was in danger that night? Who was on Top?

Zimmerman was wearing a red jacket, and Martin had on a dark hoodie.

Zimmerman’s former neighbor Jonathan Good, perhaps the witness with the best view of what happened, says he saw a person in dark clothing straddling someone in red or white clothing and making downward movements with his fists in a mixed-martial arts maneuver known as ‘ground and pound.’ Neighbors Selma Mora and Surdyka say the person on top got up after the shooting.

Zimmerman’s attorneys say Zimmerman had been on the bottom but got on top of Martin after he fired his gun.

The state said Zimmerman had been training at an MMA gym three times a week over the past year.

Zimmerman told investigators that Martin was on top of him, pounding his head into the pavement. After he fired his gun, he says, he got on top of Martin and spread his arms.

However, a photo taken moments later by Zimmerman’s neighbor shows Martin’s arms under his body.

Defense expert Vincent DiMaio testified Martin could have moved his arms in the 10 to 15 seconds he would have been conscious after being shot in the heart.

Dr Vincent di MaioDefence witness: Dr Vincent di Maio, a forensic pathologist and gunshot wound expert, describes George Zimmerman’s injuries which he said were consistent with his head being banged against concrete

Rachel Jeantel, Trayvon’s friend, who was on the phone to the teen right before he was shot, told the court her friend was frightened because a man was following him. She told him to go home.

The last thing she heard Trayvon say was: ‘Why are you following me?’ before the phone went dead. She also claimed it was Zimmerman who approached Trayvon saying, ‘What are you doing around here?’

The defense highlighted the physical differences between the 17-year-old and the then 28-year-old. That at around 6ft, Trayvon towered over Zimmerman, who was 5ft 8in and considered to be ‘soft’ and borderline obese at 200lb.

They said Travyon was not a scared young boy who feared for his life, but a strapping young man who pounced on Zimmerman and started beating him.

Possibly one of the best witnesses to take the stand in the whole trial was a forensic pathologist who was an expert in gunshot wounds.

Dr Vincent di Maio told the jury that the way the powder marks were formed around the bullet wound showed the gun would have been two-to-four inches away from the teenager’s body when the shot was fired, indicating he was leaning forward at the time.

‘The physical evidence is consistent with George Zimmerman’s account that Mr Martin was over him,’ he said.

Under cross examination from Bernie de la Rionda, Tracy Martin said of the recording: 'I was listening to my son's last cry for help. I was listening to his life being ended by somebody else'Under cross examination from Bernie de la Rionda, Tracy Martin said of the recording: ‘I was listening to my son’s last cry for help. I was listening to his life being ended by somebody else’

He later testified that Zimmerman’s head injuries could have been caused by coming into contact with concrete, even if there were no serious injuries to show this.

Zimmerman has argued all along he acted in self-defense, although he passed up chance for a self-defense ‘stand your ground’ hearing in which a judge could have thrown out the case without it going to a jury if the judge was convinced there was enough evidence to support it.

Zimmerman’s community college instructor, Alexis Francisco Carter, told jurors that a person can claim self-defense if they have a reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm.

In their jury instructions, jurors were told self-defense is justified in using deadly force if Zimmerman reasonably believed that such force was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself.

To get a second-degree murder conviction, prosecutors needed to show that Zimmerman acted with ill will, hatred, spite or evil intent.

Prosecutors argued that profanities Zimmerman uttered under his breath while he watched Martin walk through his neighborhood were evidence of ill will and hatred.

But when asked by prosecutors and defense attorneys, no witness said Zimmerman acted with these traits.

The judge presiding over the case also allowed jurors to consider the lesser charge of manslaughter.

To get a manslaughter conviction, prosecutors were required to show that Zimmerman killed without lawful justification

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2362973/Protests-erupt-coast-coast-George-Zimmerman-goes-FREE-Second-day-demonstrations-planned-night-anger.html#ixzz2Z5CQjbKZ
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