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Jury Finds George Zimmerman 'Not Guilty,' Obama Reacts

CNN Newswire | 7/16/2013, 9:37 a.m.

A jury has found George Zimmerman not guilty in the death of Trayvon Martin.

President Barack Obama, in responding to the George Zimmerman verdict, said on Sunday Americans should "ask ourselves if we're doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities. We should ask ourselves if we're doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis. We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that's a job for all of us. That's the way to honor Trayvon Martin."

The Justice Department said following Zimmerman's acquittal that it has an ongoing civil rights investigation of the Trayvon Martin shooting. "Experienced federal prosecutors will determine whether the evidence reveals a prosecutable violation of any of the limited federal criminal civil rights statutes within our jurisdiction, and whether federal prosecution is appropriate," the statement said on Sunday.

Police officers escorted jurors out of their hotel rooms using loading docks and side entrances. Minutes earlier, Michelle Kennedy, spokeswoman for the court, tweeted that the jurors had said they did not wish to speak to the media. "Jurors were given packets of letters from the media containing interview requests. They expressed no interest at this time," she said. The anonymity order for the jury is still in effect.

After Zimmerman was found not guilty in his son's death, Martin's father tweeted, "God blessed Me & Sybrina with Tray and even in his death I know my baby proud of the FIGHT we along with all of you put up for him GOD BLESS."

When asked what he has to say to Martin's parents, Zimmerman's brother Robert Zimmerman Jr. said, "I think it would be remiss of me not to say, I understand tonight, I understand their pain. And there are no winners. They will not win or lose anything more than they already have lost, which is their son's life, by any kind of verdict for George. I applaud them for asking for the verdict to be respected. ... And I will pray for them."

Zimmerman Jr. also said his brother, George, has some "decompressing to do." "He is still processing the reality or notion of being a free man."

Martin will forever remain in the annals of history as a symbol for "the fight for equal justice for all," Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump said.

"I am stunned" CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin said. "I think justice took the day off today. I think justice failed Trayvon Martin and the Martin family."

The NAACP is calling on the Justice Department to file civil rights charges against Zimmerman, and is asking the public to sign a petition. "Today, with the acquittal of Zimmerman, it is time for the Department of Justice to act," the NAACP said. "The most fundamental of civil rights — the right to life — was violated the night 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.