N.Y. Politicians on Zimmerman Verdict: We're Pissed, Too
On Saturday, a Florida jury shocked the nation by acquitting George Zimmerman of all charges in the shooting death teenager Trayvon Martin. In New York City, politicians and candidates for office made sure voters heard their opinions of the verdict loud and clear.
Mayor Bloomberg used the occasion to criticize Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, the key piece of legislation keeping Zimmerman out of jail.
"Sadly, all the facts in this tragic case will probably never be known. But one fact has long been crystal clear: 'shoot first' laws like those in Florida can inspire dangerous vigilantism and protect those who act recklessly with guns," Bloomberg said in a statement on Sunday. "Such laws--drafted by gun lobby extremists in Washington--encourage deadly confrontations by enabling people to shoot first and argue 'justifiable homicide' later."
The candidates vying for Bloomberg's job--former Representative Anthony Weiner, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Comptroller John C. Liu, and Erick Salgado--issued their own statements about the verdict on Twitter.
Keep Trayvon's family in our prayers. Deeply unsatisfying verdict. Trial by jury is our only choice in a democracy.— Anthony Weiner (@anthonyweiner) July 14, 2013
Today's acquittal in the Trayvon Martin case is a shocking insult to his family and everyone seeking justice for Trayvon— Christine C. Quinn (@ChrisCQuinn) July 14, 2013
Shocking verdict highlights the sad reality that equal justice for #Trayvon and millions of other young men of color has yet to arrive.— NYC Comptroller (@JohnCLiu) July 14, 2013
The Zimmerman jury has spoken. There is always room for debate. Let that debate be articulated perhaps loudly, but always peacefully.— Erick Salgado (@ErickSalgadoNYC) July 14, 2013
City comptroller candidate and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer added his voice to the calls for justice both on Twitter and at the Union Square rally on Sunday.
Shocked and saddened by the verdict. Our hearts go out to Trayvon Martin's family as we continue to mourn his loss.— Scott M. Stringer (@scottmstringer) July 14, 2013
Today at 1 p.m., New York Congressmen Gregory Meeks, Hakeem Jeffries, and Charles Rangel will gather outside Manhattan's federal courthouse and call on the Department of Justice to investigate whether the verdict violates civil rights.
Jeffries and Meeks both issued statements earlier this weekend. Meeks said he was "deeply disappointed" in the jury's decision, adding, "I hope that our common humanity compels us to say that we cannot be content that a 17 year old youngster, who did nothing wrong--absolutely nothing--will never go home to his family while George Zimmerman is free to go home to his family."
Jeffries struck a similar tone. "Once again, the court system has failed to deliver justice in a racially-tinged matter that involves the killing of an innocent, unarmed African-American male," he said in a statement. "The Justice Department must open an immediate investigation to determine if George Zimmerman can be charged with violating our nation's civil rights laws in the cold-blooded killing of Trayvon Martin."
Both men repeated those sentiments on Twitter, where they were joined by fellow Congressman Jerry Nadler.
My prayers are with the family of #TrayvonMartin during these trying times.— Gregory Meeks (@GregoryMeeks) July 14, 2013
I hope that our country now engages in a much needed conversation about the consequences of racial profiling #IAmTrayvonMartin— Gregory Meeks (@GregoryMeeks) July 14, 2013
Trayvon Martin's death was a senseless tragedy & I'm deeply saddened tonight. Pleased that DOJ is continuing to evaluate evidence.— Congressman Nadler (@RepJerryNadler) July 14, 2013
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