Members of the Congressional Black Caucus expressed deep disappointment in the George Zimmerman verdict while vowing to continue to fight for justice in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman was found not guilty on a second-degree murder charge in the slaying of Martin.
“A simple fact remains: an innocent young boy is dead. After Trayvon was shot and killed, I was one of the loudest voices demanding a trial and I am disappointed with the verdict,” said Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson (D).
“My role in this case has been to help ensure that Mr. Zimmerman faces a court of law. While I am profoundly disappointed with the ruling in this case, the criminal portion of the process has run its course,” she continued. “I encourage Trayvon’s parents to pursue vindication of their rights under civil law. I will support the family in any way possible.”
“Thoughts are with
#TrayvonMartin family. I pray for peace,” tweeted Florida Rep. Corrine Brown (D), another strong proponent of bringing Zimmerman to trial, before following with a Mother Teresa quote: “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, sought and received support from Democrats on Capitol Hill in March 2012 when they spokes at a special briefing of House Judiciary Committee Democrats.
Neither indicated after the late-night verdict what their course of action would be. “Lord during my darkest hour I lean on you. You are all that I have. At the end of the day, GOD is still in control. Thank you all for your prayers and support. I will love you forever Trayvon!!! In the name of Jesus!!!” tweeted Fulton.
The parents have established the Trayvon Martin Foundation. “And we are going to continue to advocate against gun violence against youth,” family attorney Daryl Parks said on CBS’ Face the Nation. “That is the message here.”
Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) called the verdict “devastating” on ABC’s This Week.
“I just am very concerned about what message this sends to the community, the fear that people must have now. But, you know, I just think that it was very sad,” she said.
Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) said the response to the verdict was “the same kind of response when Casey Anthony jury came back.”
“Well, if you take race out of this, what you have is a young person who died going to buy candy, was innocent, was not involved in any criminal activity and a person who officials had asked not to follow him took a gun and killed him. And now, that person will get his gun back. George Zimmerman will get that gun back,” Fattah said on CNN’s State of the Union.
“He will be out, and I think the notion that the jury is saying to him that if he did the same thing again today, or tomorrow, or next week, or someone else did it that there would be no punishment is not a great signal to send.”
Comparatively, though, few members of the CBC had issued statements about the verdict as of Sunday.
“Turn your pain into passion and your passion into purpose. Now is the time to do so for #JusticeForTrayvon,” tweeted Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).
“I hope that our country now engages in a much needed conversation about the consequences of racial profiling #IAmTrayvonMartin,” tweeted Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.).