Days after a Florida jury of six women acquitted George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, politicians and pundits are still trying to sort out how the jury’s decision might affect communities across the country. The Zimmerman verdict has fueled a national debate about race, gun rights, and controversial “Stand Your Ground” laws.
In an interview on Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Robin Kelly of Illinois said that she supports a Department of Justice investigation into whether George Zimmerman may have committed any civil rights abuses against Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman says he shot Martin in self defense after the teen attacked him. After the verdict, his attorney Mark O’Mara said, “The facts that night, [it] was not borne out that he acted in a racial way,” O’Mara added: “His history is a non-racist.”
Kelly expressed disappointment in the verdict but said she hopes the incident will draw attention to gun violence and prevention efforts in urban communities.
“I worked on local government for 13 years and was involved in neighborhood watches,” Kelly said on Jansing & Co., “I’ve never heard of a neighborhood watch where people are carrying guns. I mean, you’re not the law. You’re not law enforcement. You’re a neighborhood watch person.”
“But the law allows him to do that,” said Chris Jansing of Zimmerman.
Kelly says one of her main concerns continues to be gun violence, especially coming from Chicago. She wants to send a message to youth about the future of education and jobs.
Note: George Zimmerman has sued NBC Universal for defamation. The company strongly denies the allegation.