Martin family attorneys, civil rights and community leaders react to Zimmerman acquittal

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Reactions poured in after the acquittal of George Zimmerman on second degree murder charges was announced Saturday night, including from civil rights leaders around the country, as well as attorneys for Trayvon Martin’s family. Here is a sampling:

Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump (Transcription of a statement read by Benjamin Crump following the jury’s delivery of its verdict in the murder trial of George Zimmerman):

We are very saddened by the jury’s verdict. The family is heartbroken. Sybrina and Tracy would like to thank people around the world for their support. The prosecution, Ms. Angela Corey, Mr. Bernie de la Rionda, Attorney John Guy and Mr. Rich Mantei and everybody from the prosecutor’s office. To everybody who put their hoodies up and to everybody who said ‘I am Trayvon,’ his family expresses their heartfelt gratitude for helping them these past 17 months.

To Tracy and Sybrina, Trayvon’s parents, your tireless work in the name of your son has made Sanford and many other cities just a little safer for all our children. I know Trayvon is up there proud at the changes that you as his parents have inspired in his name.

This morning, Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter Dr. Bernice King tweeted me a message that read, “Today is a defining moment for the status of my father’s dream… whatever the Zimmerman verdict is,” she tweeted, “in the words of my father, ‘We must conduct ourselves on a higher plane of dignity and discipline.'”

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.

Tracy and Sybrina are thankful for all those prayers over the past 17 months since the death of their son. This is a very trying time for their family and we ask that you respect their privacy. In conclusion, for Trayvon to rest in peace, we must all be peaceful. Thank you.

NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock:

“Today, justice failed Trayvon Martin and his family,” said Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the NAACP. “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.”

NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous:

“We are outraged and heartbroken over today’s verdict,” said Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP. “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.”

NAACP Florida State Conference President Adora Obi Nweze:

“We lost a young man due to senseless violence, but justice did not prevail,” said Adora Obi Nweze, President of the Florida NAACP State Conference. “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.”

Rev. Al Sharpton, President of National Action Network and MSNBC Host:

“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. 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.”