Crown Heights

Brooklyn reacts to Zimmerman verdict

July 15, 2013 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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State Sen. Eric Adams, a retired New York police captain who is running for borough president, said the verdict in murder trial of George Zimmerman could be felt after in Brooklyn, even though the borough is thousands of miles away from Florida.

“Justice was not served in Florida today – not for the family of Trayvon Martin nor for Americans who believe everyone in this country – regardless of skin color — has a right to safety, peace and respect in their community,” Adams (D-Crown Heights) said in a statement released shortly after a jury found Zimmerman not guilty on July 13.

“We feel this ruling all the way up here in Brooklyn, where this poisonous culture of bias has infected our own system of justice, and the basic rights of black and Latino young men are violated on a daily basis. Laws like Stand Your Ground and the abuse of Stop and Frisk take us backward, and will only lead to more tragedies like Trayvon Martin. We must learn from this outrage and make changes now. That is how Trayvon will ultimately get the justice he deserves,” Adams said.  

Adams was one of several Brooklyn lawmakers and political candidates with strong reactions to the verdict. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, was acquitted of second degree murder in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in a gated community in Sanford, Florida. The shooting took place in February of 2012.

Ken Thompson, a Democratic candidate for Brooklyn district attorney, said Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old unarmed African-American boy who Zimmerman shot to death last year, will never be forgotten.

“Justice was not served in Florida, but the life and death of Trayvon Martin will never be forgotten. As we continue to mourn the senseless loss of this young man, let us come together to reflect on this grave injustice and fight to make sure that what happened to Trayvon never happens again,” Thompson said.

“Together, we must recommit our focus on repealing dangerous ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws across the country, and reforming policies here at home that often criminalize people based on the color of their skin. As the father of a young son growing up in this city, excessive practices like stop-and-frisk are not just academic exercises to me, but something all too real,” Thompson said.

Reshma Saujani, a Democratic candidate for public advocate, called on the field of city candidates and all New Yorkers to demand the Department of Justice file civil charges against George Zimmerman.

Saujani also announced that she started an online petition to demand civil charges are brought against Zimmerman. “When injustice stands, there will be other victims,” she said.

“I am humbled by the grace shown by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin and stand with Rev. Al Sharpton, Ben Jealous and other leaders in calling on the Department of Justice to pursue a civil rights case against George Zimmerman. There is still hope of justice for Trayvon,” Saujani said.  

“Last night’s verdict in the George Zimmerman trial is just another blatant example of how our justice system continues to fail us,” said Laurie Cumbo, Democratic candidate for City Council in the 35th District. She issued a statement on July 14, the day after the verdict was announced.

“My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to Sybrina Fulton, Tracy Martin and Trayvon Martin’s friends and extended family. In order to prevent another senseless death like Trayvon’s we need to end racial profiling in our country once and for all. Our justice system failed us last night, and we need to examine how we can ensure it never fails us again,” Cumbo said.

The country needs to have an open, honest discussion of race, according to Democratic mayoral candidate Sal Albanese, who said he was torn by the jury’s verdict.

“As an attorney, I respect the jury’s verdict. But as a father, I just can’t imagine how the Martin family feels today,” Albanese said. “It’s a tragedy that a young man could go out to buy a snack and wind up dead. We need a wider discussion in America about race, our ridiculous gun laws, and how we got to this state,” Albanese, a former Bay Ridge city councilman, said.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who is running for mayor, called the verdict a grave injustice.

The New York Daily News quoted state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn Heights) as saying that the verdict was deeply painful. Squadron is running for public advocate. “The jury’s verdict in the Trayvon Martin case is a shocking reminder that justice is too often still delayed and denied. Tonight is deeply painful for Trayvon’s family, and for every American who believes in equal justice under the law. The Justice Department must now step up and get involved to ensure justice is served,” he stated.

City Councilwoman Letitia James (D-Fort Greene), who is also a candidate for public advocate, was saddened by the not guilty verdict, according to the Daily News. “I’m saddened by tonight’s verdict because Trayvon Martin represents all of our children,” she stated to the News shortly after the verdict was announced Saturday night. “His killing was senseless as this decision is unjust. We must never give in to the culture of gun violence and profiling whether it’s in Florida, New York, or anywhere else in America,” she told the News.

Candidates also took to Twitter to issue statements.

“Trayvon Martin was killed because he was black. There was no justice done today in Florida,” former Comptroller Bill Thompson tweeted.

Former Congressman Anthony Weiner asked for prayers for the family of victim Trayvon Martin. “Keep Trayvon’s family in our prayers. Deeply unsatisfying verdict. Trial by jury is our only choice in a democracy,” he tweeted.



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