7:45 AM, July 14, 2013
By John Wisely
Detroit Free Press Staff
Local civil rights leaders are calling on the U.S. Justice Department to consider new charges against George Zimmerman after his acquittal late Saturday night on murder charges in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla.
“We pray that the Justice Department will act,” said the Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit Branch of the NAACP. “We don’t want anything special, we just want justice.”
Martin was killed Feb. 26, 2012 in Sanford, Fla by Zimmerman, who claimed it was self-defense.
Anthony said federal investigators should consider charging Zimmerman with violating Martin’s civil rights and added that the NAACP will consider lawsuits in an attempt to get justice for the family of Martin.
It was a message repeated Saturday night by other area civil rights advocates in Detroit.
“Clearly, Trayvon Martin’s civil rights were violated,” said Ron Scott, spokesman for the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality. “He had the most basic human right, the right to life, and that was taken away.”
Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations of Michigan, said the state court case is over, but a federal case can still be brought.
“I hope that President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder take a serious look at this,” Walid said. “They have a responsibility to the nation to see that America stays the course, and continues to evolve to a more just union.”
The Rev. Charles Williams II, president of the National Action Network Michigan, agreed.
“We’re going to continue our calls for justice for Trayvon Martin,” Williams said, adding that the national organization will examine legal options.
“In the south, it’s still hard for an African-American to get justice,” Williams said. “Mr. Zimmerman deserved at least manslaughter and the jury wouldn’t even do that. There is no faith in the jurors or in the diversity of the process.”
Williams, also pastor at Detroit’s Historic King Solomon Baptist Church, said he plans a special prayer service at 11 a.m. Sunday at the church at 6100 14th Street to pray for the family of Martin.