Posted: Mar 22 2012
MIAMI – Police on Wednesday laid second-degree murder charges against George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain who shot Trayvon, 17, as he returned from a convenience store on February 26.
If he is convicted, Zimmerman, 28, could face life in prison. It is the toughest charge he could have faced, short of first-degree murder, which would have required a finding of premeditation.
The polarizing case has become a national cause, in some ways echoing the civil rights movement more than a half-century ago. Zimmerman’s arrest and the charges he faces were met with measured relief by some and disappointment by others.
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“Finally justice for Slimm,” said one of Trayvon’s classmates, Suzi Charles, referring to Trayvon’s nickname on a Facebook post. Others believe the charges against Zimmerman were not warranted.
“I think it’s important that the legal system carries out a fair process and a transparent process,” said the Reverend Marcus Davidson, senior pastor at the New Mount Olive Baptist Church, where a large Trayvon prayer rally was held last month.
“For real peace and real satisfaction, that will come at the end – after all that takes place in the legal system. I have a lot of trepidation in saying that just a charge will satisfy, not just African Americans, but all Americans. I think this has affected all Americans who are disappointed that we’re at this point in 2012.”
The vice-mayor of Miami Gardens where Trayvon grew up, Oliver Gilbert III, said he wanted Zimmerman to be subject to the court of law, not the court of public opinion as he has been in recent weeks. “I want the laws to apply to him. That’s a start,” he said.
Two weeks after Trayvon’s death, his parents launched a campaign seeking justice in their son’s death. It mushroomed into daily marches and rallies across the nation. From middle-school students, to celebrities, to Miami Heat basketball players – many donning the hoodie, like the one Trayvon was wearing at the time of this death – they made the cause their own.
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