The NAACP has gathered more than 1 million signatures on their petition to the Department of Justice calling for federal prosecution and civil rights charges against George Zimmerman.
The civil rights organization launched the petition in response to the Florida jury’s verdict in the Zimmerman trial, which acquitted the defendant of all charges in the death of Trayvon Martin.
Over 100,000 signatures were submitted within hours of the petition’s launch on Saturday night. As of Tuesday morning, that number has reached more than one million, although an NAACP representative tells theGrio that an exact number cannot currently be determined.
“I knew I was not alone in my outrage, anger, and heartbreak over this decision,” NAACP President Ben Jealous said in an official statement. “When a teenager’s life is taken, and there is no accountability for the man who killed him, nothing seems right in the world. But we cannot let these emotions rule us.”
“This is the power of one million voices,” he added. “One voice in angry protest can be ignored, but when one million people speak as one – and thousands more take to the street in peaceful protest, rallies and vigils – we can change the world.”
The initial overwhelming response to the petition caused the NAACP website to crash due to the heavy traffic — however, it has since been recovered.
The petition, which is addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder, reads:
The Department of Justice has closely monitored the State of Florida’s prosecution of the case against George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin murder since it began. Today, with the acquittal of George Zimmerman, it is time for the Department of Justice to act.
The most fundamental of civil rights — the right to life — was violated the night George Zimmerman stalked and then took the life of Trayvon Martin.
We ask that the Department of Justice file civil rights charges against Mr. Zimmerman for this egregious violation. Please address the travesties of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin by acting today.
Holder addressed the media on Tuesday and criticized stand-your-ground laws in reference to the shooting that led to Martin’s death.
He said: “separate and apart from the case that has drawn the nation’s attention, it’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods.”
“The Department of Justice will continue to act in a manner that is consistent with the law and the facts,” he said before his closing statements. “We will not be afraid. We are committed to doing anything possible and that is in every case and in every community, justice must be done.”
The Justice Department has confirmed that the Zimmerman case is under review.
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