NAACP Pursues Civil Rights Violations Case against Zimmerman

NAACP Pursues Civil Rights Violations Case against Zimmerman

It’s a case that has captured the attention of the nation and the Mid-South - George’s Zimmerman’s acquittal in the death of teenager Trayvon Martin.
MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com) - It’s a case that has captured the attention of the nation and the Mid-South - George’s Zimmerman’s acquittal in the death of teenager Trayvon Martin.

Some say justice has been served; others believe the opposite.

The country has been buzzing since late Saturday, July 13, when Zimmerman’s “not guilty” verdict was handed down. There were protests on Sunday and news channels discussed the case virtually around the clock.

Many Memphians were both frustrated and disappointed.

“I’m disappointed as an officer of the NAACP,” said Van Turner, “I’m disappointed as a lawyer; I’m disappointed as a father of two African-American boys.”

Turner is a member of the legal team of the Memphis chapter of the NAACP and a former chairman of the Shelby County Democratic Party. His refrain was familiar following the not guilty verdict for Zimmerman.

"I would like to have seen some charge,” Turner told localmemphis.com, “even if it was manslaughter.”

Pastor Keith Norman, the chairman of the Memphis chapter of the NAACP, was at a national meeting in Orlando when the verdict was announced.

“Unfortunately, it validated our reason for being there,” Norman said.

But his organization was prepared.

“Our strategy was decided early on that we would pursue civil rights violations against Zimmerman. We took a vote earlier today (Monday)—it has already been adopted,” said Norman.

Just after Trayvon’s death, Memphis’ Joseph B. Kyles counseled his mother.

“Her body was wracked with the devastation of the loss of a child,” Kyles told localmemphis.com, “it’s a pain I’ve never seen before.”

Kyles said the Martins bore no ill will towards anybody - they just wanted justice.

“In this case,” said Kyles, “I think justice failed them.”

Perhaps there were some lessons to be learned.

“Don’t judge people on outward appearances,” Turner said.

In the past, similar emotional verdicts have been excuses for violence; not this time.

“We’re very proud of Memphis and other people around the country that did not take to the streets and create any violence,” said Norman.

“Violence won’t bring Trayvon Martin back,” said Turner. “This is an issue about moving the conversation forward, about profiling, and calmer heads.”

Speaking in Washington on Monday, July 15, Attorney General Eric Holder said the Department of Justice would investigate, but would have to establish a hate crime to bring charges against Zimmerman.

On the same night, Democratic congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis released a statement praising the Justice Department for considering the matter.

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