Tense Meetings After|Zimmerman Verdict

     SANFORD, Fla. – As some residents of Sanford, Fla., called for justice Monday after George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder, others turned to prayer and reflection.
     Sanford Pastors Connecting, an alliance of Christian leaders, organized an event Monday at the New Life World Church.
     Mayor Jeff Triplett, City Manager Norton Bonaparte and Police Chief Cecil Smith attended the prayer sessions.
     Zimmerman, now 29, shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012 and claimed self-defense under Florida’s “stand your ground” law. He was not arrested for six weeks, until groups nationwide protested that Zimmerman, who is white, racially profiled Martin who was African American.
     Zimmerman, who was charged with second-degree murder, was acquitted late Saturday night.
     St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Lowman Oliver said he attended almost every day of the trial to support the Martin family.
     “We’re focused on peace in the community,” Lowman said. “There hasn’t been one violent act in all the protests. You can’t control everybody. Mindsets might be angry but not to where they would become violent.”
     Lowman called Sanford Pastors Connecting prayerful peacemakers. He said he grew up in a generation when it was “OK” to kill black men, and saw riots firsthand.
     Peaceful protests were held in Sanford and across the nation after the verdict. A protest turned violent in Los Angeles, where a police car was bashed.
     Ironically, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People held its annual convention in Orlando as the not guilty verdict was delivered.
     A spokesperson said there were tears and anger after the verdict, especially from young black men.
     NAACP President Ben Jealous said it made the men feel very small.
     “We’re asking youth across the country to keep doing what they’re doing,” Jealous said. “That’s if they’re upset and angry, to fuel it in a powerful and peaceful way.”
     Jealous will meet with the Department of Justice this week to discuss the possibility of civil rights charges against Zimmerman.
     The DOJ said Sunday that it would review the Zimmerman case to determine if it should prosecute him federally.
     Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara said he will seek immunity for his client.
     Martin’s parents Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton could still file civil lawsuits against Zimmerman. Zimmerman could sue the state and others as well.

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