Jurors have found George Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Reaction in New York was swift, and gatherings are expected today in protest.
The six-member, all-woman jury deliberated for more than 15 hours over two days before reaching their decision Saturday night.
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 hearing the verdict, Judge Debra Nelson told Zimmerman he was free to go.
Jurors heard two different portraits of Zimmerman and had to decide whether he was a wannabe cop who took the law into his own hands or a well-meaning neighborhood watch volunteer who shot the unarmed teenager in self-defense because he feared for his life.
The reaction to George Zimmerman's acquittal in Trayvon Martin's death was swift in New York last night.
Jay Smooth, a deejay at WBAI Radio, wrote on Twitter: "The fundamental danger of an acquittal is not more riots, it's more George Zimmermans."
Caprice Crane, a novelist and screenwriter who splits her time between Los Angeles and New York, tweeted:
"The verdict is shocking. But I hope everyone angry about it will behave with the same dignity that the family of Trayvon Martin has shown."
The Rev. Al Sharpton called the verdict a "slap in the face." Sharpton had brought attention to the Martin's death in the early days and says he will head to Florida soon.
Meanwhile, City Councilmember Eric Ulrich of Queens, a Republican, tweeted: "The rights of the accused cannot be compromised by the court of public opinion. Everyone is entitled to a fair trial."
About 100 people gathered in Union Square late last night for a mostly peaceful candlelight protest against the verdict. More vigils are expected Sunday.
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