People outside the Meeting Street Piggly Wiggly were stunned and angry Saturday night when asked their opinion of the not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial.
Nancy Button, president of the Rosemont Neighborhood Council, was leaving the store with a cartful of groceries. She shook her head when told of the jury’s decision.
“There is no justice in America for African-Americans,” Button said. “The shackles are still here. They are just invisible,” she said.
She stopped in the parking lot to talk about the verdict with Lee Dickerson, 45, and Toni Ray, 46.
Dickerson said if the roles had been reversed, Trayvon Martin would have been convicted.
“Any thinking person would say the same thing,” he said.
He said that Sanford, Fla., where the trial was held does not have a good record for racial equality.
“The jury was not very inclusive,” he said. Ray said Zimmerman was a bully who should have been found guilty.
“I think that he should have been locked up,” she said.
The jury found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Martin.
Jurors had been given the chance to convict Zimmerman of manslaughter but did not do so, despite asking for a clarification of the charge earlier in the evening, the Associated Press reported.
Adrian Wicevic described the verdict as a “sticky situation” because in his opinion Zimmerman should have been convicted of manslaughter.
“I’m hoping it doesn’t cause riots. I have a feeling it’s going to get ugly,” he said.
Others expressed feelings of disbelief over the jury verdict.
“That’s messed up. I can’t even talk right now,” said Russell Harrell, 29. “The legal system is just messed up. It’s all crooked. It’s a one-sided system,” he said.
Deon Gadsden, 21, said he had heard that the prosecution had compelling evidence against Zimmerman.
“I’m kind of shocked,” he said.
Joe Davis, 25, said, “All I can do is have faith in the justice system.”
Benjamin Rivers, 59, said the justice system is biased. “People of power and money, whether black or white, they usually prevail,” he said.
“I think the prosecution dropped the ball from the start,” he said.
Jamontrice Walker, 25, said Martin was shot because he looked suspicious walking down the street.
“I think it’s a travesty,” he said.
Lynda Reed, 21, said that the verdict is proof that the system is corrupt.
Some people declined to talk about the case. One woman said she wanted to hear the news about the trial for herself before commenting. Another woman said she was unfamiliar with the case.