A glimpse of South Florida's feelings on not guilty Zimmerman verdict

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth piece in a series of on-the-ground reports on reactions to the not guilty verdict reached by the jury in the George Zimmerman trial.

From Miami to the Palm Beaches, and potentially all over the country, all eyes were glued to news networks as the 6 jurors in the trial for George Zimmerman announced that they had reached a verdict.

Many insisted that justice for the killing of Trayvon Martin would come in the form of a 2nd degree murder conviction.

Others, who have long been discouraged by the U.S. legal system, believed a manslaughter conviction would be just.

However, to the surprise and disappointment of many, George Zimmerman was found not guilty.

The South Florida community shares their reactions:

“I didn’t really follow the case that much so I didn’t have too much of a reaction to it. I didn’t hear how the prosecutors or the defense made their cases so I can’t give much of an opinion on it. “ – 27-year-old Ashley W. of Fort Lauderdale, FL (white)

“It was a disappointing outcome but certainly not surprising. I was hoping at least a reduced manslaughter conviction and couldn’t imagine him walking free with blood on his hands. But it is what it is…the state of Florida and state of the world and the state of mankind…the injustice system at its best.” – 31-year-old Jonathon B. of Pembroke Pines, FL. (African-American)

“He killed that baby. To me, Trayvon was a baby. Just 17 years old. There’s nothing man can do about it. It’s on God. Prayer is what changes everything. It’s just sad.” – 52-year-old Gwen L. of West Palm Beach (Caribbean-American)

“The best word to sum up my reaction would be disheartened. I am not shocked as I have been watching the trial and feel as if the prosecution was less than stellar. That, in itself, is not surprising as it is their job to prosecute young black males on a regular basis. However, taking race completely out of it, I was hopeful that at the end of the day it would come down to the fact that this boy was walking home, talking on his phone when he was stalked and murdered. It was he who was defending himself. I cannot rationalize how six women, mostly mothers, could see it any different. My heart breaks for Trayvon family. The justice system failed him on so many levels. The jury has spoken, and although they haven’t said the words I longed to hear, their words spoke volumes about the state of justice in our country. It’s a sad day.” – 39-year-old Sue Lon of Miami Gardens (white)

“We’re from North Florida actually about an hour or so away from Sanford. So we weren’t shocked at all. We actually knew what the verdict was going to be considering we’re from that area and typically, that’s just what happens. Micheal Vick can go to jail for dog fighting and Plaxico goes to jail for shooting himself but Zimmerman gets to walk free. Obviously Trayvon’s life is not important. A dogs life is more important than that of a 17 year old kid.” – 30-year-old Nitra K. of Lake City, Florida living in Weston (Caribbean American)

“Nothing surprised me about this verdict at all. It was exactly what I expected. My issue was why is everyone getting mad. They have Klan meetings still, where I am from in North Florida and it’s a thing of — you don’t bother us, we don’t bother you. When you’re from North Florida, you just know and I knew he was going to get away with murder. “ – 28-year-old Kelly U. of Lauderhill, FL (African American)

“It’s tragic case. Because no one will ever know how did it start and why Zimmerman shot him. But it doesn’t mean he’s innocent. There’s just no absolute charge against Zimmerman that shows Trayvon didn’t do anything to provoke him. The jury has to be 100 percent sure that Trayvon was innocent in order to charge George with a guilty verdict. It wasn’t 100 percent so he won the case. We can’t prove he was fully guilty that is why he was released and that is justice.” – 55-year-old Judy R. of Miami, FL (Hispanic)

“I’m very confused. I certainly disagree with the verdict. The young man was unarmed. Trayvon was unarmed and that should be the main issue. He had a right to be where he was. Zimmerman had a weapon and took on a position he had no right in taking thinking he was some kind of police officer. I do not think he was in fear of his life at any point. It is not justified at all.” – 62-year-old Beth B. of Plantation, FL (white)

Wanjira Banfield writes about travel and entertainment for theGrio. You can find her at  www.wanjirasworld.com and follow her on Twitter @wanjirasworld.