George Zimmerman Acquittal in Trayvon Martin Case Sparks Protest in San Jose

Text messages, emails, Facebook and Twitter announcements brought more than a hundred community members to San Jose’s City Hall on Sunday, as part of a protest and march in response to the not guilty verdict in the Trayvon Martin case.

On Saturday, six jurors in Sanford, Florida, found George Zimmerman, 29, not guilty of murder—or any other charges—in the February 2012 shooting that left Martin, a 17-year-old African American male, dead. Zimmerman says he followed Martin, while carrying a loaded gun, because he thought the teenager was a burglar. A confrontation ensued and Martin, who was visiting his family and had little more than Skittles on his person, was left dead. Zimmerman claimed he shot and killed Martin in self-defense.

Protesters in San Jose, as well as other rallies across the country this past weekend, believe Martin was targeted and killed because of his race.

“This isn’t just Trayvon; this is a pattern that’s been happening to young black and brown men when they are murdered by cops, when they are murdered by these vigilante community watch groups,” said Michelle Pujol, member of the Chicano student organization MECHA de San Jose State. “This injustice happens to people of color and the state upholds it and our justice system upholds it, and it needs to end now. We are tired of it.”

Protestors met at 6pm outside of City Hall, where they made signs that read: “Justice for Trayvon;” “No Justice, No Peace;” and “We are Trayvon.” Many spoke about their frustrations with the verdict. Zimmerman, who is Hispanic but has often been labeled white in the media, was found not guilty of second-degree murder as well as manslaughter. Many critics of the ruling have taken aim at Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, although the judge and prosecutors both stated that it was not relevant. Unlike some states that require citizens to retreat from danger in public places, Florida allows a person to “stand their ground” and use deadly force if they feel their life is in danger.

Raj Jayadev, head of community group Silicon Valley De-Bug, called the national protests “an instinctual response by a community in shock. Florida is very far way, but the question of injustice is very near and personal.”

People shouted, “No justice no peace, we’re taking it to the streets,” while walking through downtown San Jose. It wasn’t long before the San Jose Police Department dispatched seven cars to monitor the protest.

Bridgette Halcrombe, 52, in town visiting her son, a student at San Jose State, said Sunday was the first time she has ever participated in a protest. She said she was “shocked” when police began ordering protesters to get out of the street.

“As if they don’t have anything else to do but stop us from marching and supporting Trayvon and his family,” she said.

Victor Guendulain, a community member and organizer for an organization called “No More, No Más,” called Sunday’s march “a show of solidarity with the rest of the nation; a show of solidarity with Trayvon’s family; and a show of outrage at the situation.”

Protesters plans to meet again at City Hall at 4:30pm Tuesday and 6pm Sunday.

“Hopefully we can put more pressure on our local government to make policy changes and eventually it will get to the federal level,” said SJSU student Malcolm Halcrombe.

Photos by Christiana Cobb

30 Comments

  1. So Bridgette Halcrombe, 52, in town visiting her son, a student at San Jose State, said Sunday was the first time she has ever participated in a protest. She said she was “shocked” when police began ordering protesters to get out of the street. 

    I guess she thinks it ok to block the traffic of other people who are just traveling about.  Maybe Bridgette should say thank you police for keeping us all safe.

  2. From the beginning, legal experts thought the case against Zimmerman was weak. That doesn’t change the fact that Martin certainly did not deserve to die. The reason he is dead is the Florida law that allows morons like Zimmerman to walk around carrying loaded guns.  I’m also disgusted, but not surprised, that police haters are trying to use this case to push their own, unrelated agenda. Zimmerman had and has nothing to do with the police.

  3. Were it not for illegal immigration and the welfare state, I suspect the majority of these protesters would be busy doing what nature outfitted them to do: mopping floors, flipping burgers, and trimming hedges to avoid starving to death.

    I can only imagine the intelligence quotient of a San Jose State student who passionately protests a killing committed by an American civilian of Peruvian descent as part of a pattern of “cops” murdering “young black and brown men.” By this line of reasoning, Ms. Pujol must’ve also been outraged when OJ—who once played a cop in a movie, got away with murdering the wife of… you guessed it: a black man.

    Oh, the racism!

    “No Justice, No Peace,” a blatant a threat of violence, yet hoisted up on signs held by morons deluded into thinking they stand for something noble.

    Oh, the stupidity!

    It’s telling that, despite his Hispanic roots, Zimmerman “has often been labeled as white in the media.” President Obama has a white mother, but he has never been identified as anything but African-America in the media. Bob Marley, whose father was as white and English as Tony Blair, has never been identified in the media as white. Yet George Zimmerman—because of the color of Trayvon Martin’s skin, was repeatedly identified as white in the media, despite his being every bit as brown as A-Rod.

    It wasn’t too long ago that the news media reported with outrage that officials in apartheid South Africa dictated—for political reasons, the ethnicity of its citizens. And now the same media—for different political reasons, is doing it here.

    Oh, the hypocrisy!

  4. Ok.

    If a black security officer shoots and kill a 17 year old boy of any color and claim’s self defense (and was even assaulted as in FL.) And is claimed innocent do we riot in Oakland and destory property of innocent landlords.

    I think not, just another excuse to riot.

    It disgusts me when anyone will use any reason to destroy property.  Hell winning a world series in any sport is just a reason to go out and destory the property of others.

    This man was delared innocent by a jury of his peers.  Don’t like it then protest in peace.  Don’t use it as an excuse to riot.  Let the courts work it out.  And we do not need the president to way in on civil rights.  If so do it on every case. Black or White!

    • Well said.
      <This man was declared innocent by a jury of his peers>
      Peers who were bound by and under sworn oath to uphold a fundamental tenet of our judicial system- A person is presumed innocent until proven otherwise BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.
      Would these outraged protesters have us selectively disregard this cornerstone of our justice system whever it suits their political ideology? The answer is YES- they would destroy anything in order to satisfy their own gigantic Obamaesque egos.

    • what surprises me is that some people get all fired up on property destruction in protest than that of a young person getting killed by a sick racist.

      • Because destroying stores on the other side of the country from where this trial actually took place furthers their goal of somehow changing people’s minds?  Really?  And where’s the community outrage for the two murder victims in SJ from over the weekend?

        And as far as “racist” goes, unless I’m mistaken, “cracker” is still considered a racist term, uttered by SAID young person, not the accused.

        • Amen, jsut a reason to destroy property. 80% have a reason 10% just want to loot and be jack asses.  No wonder Oakland has the highest murder rate in Cal.  SJ not far behind.

      • becuae of idiots like you, they need no reason to riot.  Maybe if they desorty your house of business you would be upset.  But then you you have to have either first.

        Whay do you not care more about mexican gang killings.

      • R Gomez: also, people seem to only notice a few windows getting broken and not the thousands of people who protested without causing property destruction.  This article is about protests in San Jose and doesn’t mention any property destruction in SJ, yet that’s all people are talking about in the comment section.

  5. Does anyone find it odd that three people were murdered in San Jose (including a “brown” boy. Not my words.) in the last week and you don’t here any protest for their lives.  Where is La Raza, Roundtable, De-bug, MECHA, Asian Alliance and No Mas No More?  Murders in their own city and they remain silent.  They don’t care unless it is a black person who dies at the hands of a police officer or white person.  Their protests are comical.

    Martin’s death is anything but comical.  It is tragic.

    • Hey Just Anon for Now, I’m with you on protests for the loss of lives here in SJ. I lost a friend of mine due to violence on the streets of SJ. From my understanding, however, the community is taking this opportunity to come together not only for Trayvon, but for all of the other youth who have passed as a result of violence as well. This is a chance for them to bring awareness to these issues in the hopes of changing or influencing change on unjust laws that act as a protection on those who commit murders, like Mr. Zimmerman, and get away with it. Since the Zimmerman/ Martin case is well known and has caused an uproar in most communities, folks are more willing to come together. Many folks aren’t aware of the countless murders that go on in our streets here in San Jose so this is a great opportunity to rally up people and share information with them to tackle these issues locally. Regarding the organizations that took part in this rally, I understand your frustration when you say “they don’t care”, but I know these groups have each had their own campaigns to tackle the violence here in SJ, and if not the violence, then in one form or another they’ve done their best to better the community. Whether that be community workshops, volunteering at centers, supporting the underrepresented youth in our community, or fundraising for scholarships, I know they’ve each made an effort to reach out. They’re trying to influence change and it may not be well-known to the whole community because their efforts aren’t publicized, like this rally was, but that doesn’t mean they’re not doing anything at all. Now I don’t want you to take my words with any disrespect. I absolutely understand your frustration and just wanted to offer a different perspective on all of this. I hope you can respect my perspective as I have yours and I urge you to share information with those around you, share your thoughts and ideas, and bring awareness to issues you feel strongly about.
      best,

      SJ anon44

      • I appreciate very much that these organizations and people care about tackling issues of violence, but, when their clarion call du jour is protesting an entirely appropriate verdict in a truly tragic use of force incident and despite the massive amount of facts and information out there to support the fact that it truly was a just verdict, well… they tend to lose a lot of credibility.

        As well, when they use this case to decry ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws – which California also has, by the way – they again illustrate how misguided they are. First, ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws are entirely consistent with Constitutional principles. Second, mechanisms exist by which the merit of a claim of self defense under these kinds of laws may be examined. Third, Zimmerman’s defense successfully argued that he was acting in self defense and the preponderance of evidence and testimony supports this claim.

        Please understand that careful examination of the ‘incident du jour’ is as important as the conduct of those who are protesting it.

  6. Reverse the situation.  What if Zimmerman did not have a gun? and what if Trevon continued to slam his head on the concrete until he died?

    Would murder charges have been brought up then?

    If Trevon was acquitted would there have been all of these protests in the streets against a system that lets a “light skinned Hispanic” be murdered and his killer let go?

    If not then clearly these protestors are racists.

    • Even if Trayvon didn’t kill Zimmerman, what then? Did Zimmerman do anything to deserve the risk of becoming another Brian Stowe?

      While not all the protestors are, intentionally racist, we must concede that an element of racism does exist within this sort of group-mind and certainly a substantial degree of racism and political cynicism in Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and the like. The only time they raise their heads to take notice of the death of an African American is if it is at the hands of someone who isn’t – and especially if that someone who isn’t happens to be White (or perceived white) or a police officer.

      In 513 days from Trayvon’s death to Zimmerman’s acquittal 11,106 African Americans have been killed by other African Americans. We have heard not one peep from Sharpton, Jackson, Holder, Obama, the NAACP, the ACLU, the New Black Panther party or virtually any other group on the matte of this virtual holocaust of (primarily) young African Americans. Their silence is as informative of their own brand of racism, the flip side of the prejudice coin, which is entrenched as deeply as the racism in a KKK Imperial Wizard. And clearly, the measure of Trayvon Martin’s life, so far as any of these are concerned can be defined by the amount of political power they garner from his death, the money which flows to the coffers of their various organizations and the outrage they manufacture. They don’t care about absolute and uniform standards of morality, decency or jurisprudence. Uniting Americans is clearly the furthest thing from their minds, regardless of their rhetoric and they are clearly willing to sacrifice our civil society on the altar of political expedience, self-aggrandizement, and the accumulation of personal wealth and power.

    • So hughbigottous: so the lessons we should take away from last week’s verdict in the Zimmerman trial:

      1. Always carry a gun. Guns keep you safe and there’s always going to be a situation that calls for pulling them out and waving them around, even if you have to manufacture such a situation yourself.

      2. If someone suspicious is following you, don’t punch him; that’s called “being a thug” and is punishable by death. Shoot the guy to death instead; that’s called “standing your ground” and is entirely justifiable.

      3. The above lessons don’t apply to people of color or as you call “light skinned hispanic”.

      4. (People) We live in a very, very, very sick country.

      • And that, boys and girls, is what I like to call ‘riding the fallacy train’.

        r gomez, why don’t you read my above post, follow the links, get the facts and get informed.

        Sadly, yes, we DO live in a sick country. We are witnessing the early stages of the death throes of our civil society.

  7. Unfortunately, people seem hell bent on only seeing what they want to see in this case.  If we swapped out the positions here and Trayvon was the one on the bottom and Zimmerman the youth on top, I’m thinking that everybody and their mother would be protesting the fact that he was ever tried.  Ridiculousness beyond sanity.

    And the stats about all of the black on black violence…seems to me that there is a lot of meaningful work to be done in that arena.  So many lives to be saved there.  Yes, it’s sad that Trayvon will never be able to contribute to our society.  Who knows what he could have become.  Now multiply that 11,106 and tell me why it’s sadder to lose that one than the other 11,106….  So to all the “activists” out there, I say take on this much larger problem.  For THAT I would applaud you!

  8. That these people feel entitled to riot, disrupt others’ lives and, in other parts of the country, wreak (probably millions of dollars of) destruction on innocent uninvolved persons is a testament to just how incapable of critical thought these people are and how disinclined they are to turn a critical eye on their own communities, their own behavior, their own particular subculture.

    First, let’s talk about the case. Frankly, the special prosecutor didn’t have one. In fact, here case was so insubstantial that she committed perjury by omitting exculpatory evidence in her affidavit of probable cause for the arrest warrant – namely that Zimmerman had sustained injuries in the encounter whereas Martin had none, other than the bullet wounds. Alan Dershowitz, noted lawyer and Harvard Law professor excoriated Angela Corey for her conduct, noted that it was deceptive if not outright perjurious, that it was a clear-cut case of prosecutorial misconduct, if not criminal misconduct and that Angela Corey is one of the most irresponsible prosecutors he’s ever seen. Ben Field was disciplined and disbarred for pretty much the same thing, and the same standard needs to apply to Angela Corey, else justice is certainly not served.

    http://legalinsurrection.com/2013/07/alan-dershowitz-vs-angela-corey-over-misleading-affidavit-of-probable-cause/

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/03/thoughts-on-trayvon-martin-and-george-zimmerman.php

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/04/what-does-the-prosecutor-have-on-george-zimmerman.php

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/07/alan-dershowitz-vs-angela-corey.php

    Second, let’s talk about the racism issue. Of course, all the usual bad actors, race baiters and so-called activists had to chime in. Here, though, a little perspective is required.  In the 513 days between Trayvon Martin’s death and George Zimmerman’s acquittal, 11,106 African-Americans have been killed by other African-Americans. This represents 93% (!!!) of all murders of African Americans. That’s right, there is a little holocaust going on in the African-American community being perpetrated by their own community. And yet, we don’t hear a peep from Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, the NAACP, the ACLU, Eric Holder or Barack Obama.

    That all these actors who, arguably have instant access to the national stage, are silent on this holocaust and yet, before an investigation is completed, before all the facts have been gathered, feel compelled to insist or suggest that Zimmerman killed Martin out of some sort of racism, and ALL of them, at least initially, jumping on the bandwagon that Zimmerman was white can lead the impartial observer to only one conclusion: it is NOT George Zimmermna, the Sanford PD, the fired Sanford PD chief, the county’s district attorney or the jurors who are the racists. Rather, it is the NAACP leadership, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and, yes, Barack Obama who are the racists.

    Finally, the substance of the case comes down to this question: does a person – any person, regardless of race – have the legal right to use deadly force to protect themselves from the use of deadly force against them or another innocent. It is this question which underpins the 2nd Amendment, and the Framers of the Constitution in penning the 2nd Amendment and, later, justifying its inclusion, replied resoundingly that, ‘Yes, the individual may use deadly force to protect one’s God-given (natural law) rights to life liberty and pursuit of happiness’.

    And, from the photos of George Zimmerman’s injuries, the 911 transcript, and transcripts of the trial including eyewitness testimony of the fight in which Trayvon Martin was on top of George Zimmerman, pummeling him and George Zimmerman losing the fight. This was not a fight he picked. There is no testimony or evidence to suggest that he, at any time, confronted or interacted with Martin at any point before he was assaulted. On the contrary, substantial proof exists to lead one to conclude that it was Trayvon Martin who was the aggressor and initiated the assault which lead to Zimmerman being beaten ‘MMA-style’ sustaining a broken nose and cuts to the back of his head. Some might argue that the injuries were not so severe that deadly force could have been justified, but plenty of case law supports that pavement CAN be a deadly weapon and there is no reason on earth to expect Zimmerman to wait until he sustained more serious injuries. Anyone who thinks so ought to ask Brian Stowe if he wishes he or someone else had a handgun available to help him as he was being beaten nearly to death.

    • Notice that Officer Anonymous refers to these peaceful protests as a “riot”.  That’s how all cops treat people expressing their first amendment rights: as criminals.

      Officer Anonymous will beat you or gas you or shoot you with rubber bullets just for protesting.  It’s his job to make sure you don’t disrupt the status quo, and he’ll use any force necessary to do it.

      God Bless Murica!

      • There are protests in SJ and what can only be described as riots elsewhere. It is important to speak to both things, and far more important to speak to the rampant prejudice, disinformation, deception and willful ignorance which precipitated both the demonstrations and the riots.

        I honestly don’t care about people demonstrating peacefully and in ways which cause NO disruption to anyone. Generally speaking those wouldn’t require a police presence of any kind.

        I also don’t care about the messages that demonstrators are trying to convey in this instance for the reasons I enumerated in my first paragraph. It’s pretty clear from the activist rhetoric, the media and the politics involved that the Trayvon Martin case is a highly publicized symptom of the decline of our civil society.

        What I DO care about is the tendency of ‘peaceful protests’ to transform into outright demonstrations and riots. I also care when these thousands of bleating masses decide to commit vandalism, assault, attempted murder, and, considering the elevated tensions and emotions, it is far to easy for a ‘protest’ to degenerate into something much more ominous and dangerous. We are seeing this go on nationally.

        And, unfortunately, these people are outraged over an entirely just verdict precisely because they have been told that they ought to be by too many people who have ownership of a bully pulpit. These same people have, in essence, said the facts of an incident don’t matter, the right to self defense doesn’t matter, judicial process doesn’t matter and our criminal justice system doesn’t matter. As well, and more sickeningly, the 11,106 black people killed by OTHER black people in the time since Trayvon Martin died to the day of the verdict Also Don’t Matter. The only thing that matters is that someone who looks white killed an African American because that is a perfect excuse to gin up hate, rage and chaos and feed off all of it as a means of enhancing their own political power and pocketbooks and to hell with a civil society.

    • For your reading pleasure, here’s Officer Anonymous a SJI blogger — who really really went out of his way to defend George Zimmerman—it turns out that identifying a person as a threat based on his appearance, following that person (and after the 911 dispatcher informed him to back off), confronting him, and then shooting and killing him is not a crime- its what the “Framers of the Constitution had in mind (after) penning the 2nd Amendment and, later, justifying its inclusion,  that ‘Yes, the individual may use deadly force to protect one’s God-given (natural law) rights to life liberty and pursuit of happiness’…”

      I have many problems with Officer Anonymous posted perspective and not only with the outcome of this case. But also more importantly that of the laws that led us to this place—are absolutely terrible.

      To be specific, a law like Stand Your Ground the one in place in Florida leads to vigilantes like Zimmerman, who ride around their neighborhoods in the hopes of finding someone who looks suspicious enough to confront. This law tells Zimmerman that he can stalk Martin at night, he can put himself in a situation that might lead to a confrontation, and that — if such a confrontation should ensure — he can pull his gun and take a shot without having to do a whole lot of explaining. He can act as an aggressor and still be entirely within his rights when he shoots someone a) he deems also to be an aggressor or b) when he finds himself on the losing end of a confrontation that he initiates.

      In other words, Zimmerman’s defense didn’t have to appeal to the Stand Your Ground law in order to clear him of the murder charge — mostly because the other key witness to the events had been shot to death. The innocent guy, at the end of the night, is the guy who had more firepower, had no second thoughts about using it, and therefore didn’t end up dead.

      But make no mistake that the young Martin was shot and killed — because Zimmerman knew his rights under that Stand Your Ground law and thereby felt empowered to cruise around like a vigilante, looking for someone that he thought may be a bad guy and an excuse to wave his gun around.

      • Really?!  O.A. took the words out of my mouth and framed them far more eloquently than I ever could have! 

        The problem, as I see it, with this and a lot of other hot topics today is that much like our eating habits we have gotten just too lazy to do the leg work.  “Hmmm, let me check Facebook or the evening news.  They will tell me what the correct view point is!  Lord knows, NO ONE lies or misleads in either of those places!” 

        If you really want to save time, you can just check that status on your smart phone while you drive through the McDonalds to pick up dinner!  Genius!

      • r gomez, while you are certainly entitle to your opinion, what you are NOT under any circumstances entitled to do is LIE about the facts. It is clear that you have based your opinion on falsehood and assumption and have done not one bit of critical research in the (a) transcripts of the 911 recording, (b) text of the affidavit of probably cause for the arrest warrant, (c) the details of witness testimony and the court trial, (d) the relevant statutes and case law.

        1. It is clear from the 911 tape that George Zimmerman was merely following Trayvon Martin and reporting relevant details to the 911 call taker. It is furthermore clear from that recording, from his own testimony and from eyewitness accounts that he was doing as the call taker instructed and walking away and going back to his car. No evidence of any kind was presented by the prosecution to the contrary. Therefore, the most likely answer (Occam’s Razor) is that it was Trayvon Martin who initiated the confrontation.

        2. There was another key witness to the event: John Good. He made clear that Trayvon Martin was on top of George Zimmerman, beating Zimmerman up ‘MMA style’. In other words it was MARTIN, not Zimmerman who was the primary aggressor in the confrontation. Deadly force is deadly force whether the weapon used is a fist, a boot, a gun, or… the pavement into which a man’s head is being bashed. I am sure Brian Stowe would agree.

        3. Lastly, your characterization of Zimmerman as a vigilante is uninformed, unqualified and as erroneous as it was when Angela Corey was trying to assert the same thing. He was a neighborhood watch volunteer, and a concerned citizen, nothing more or less, and just the same as, probably hundreds of thousands of other neighborhood watch volunteers who do the exact same thing – take responsibility for the communities in which they live – year in and year out.

        Your disinclination to do any research whatsoever (starting with the links I conveniently provided) and your willingness to perpetuate falsehoods despite substantial facts, evidence and testimony to the contrary and your attendant failure to resort to hyperbole and fallacy in your comments reflects your own unique prejudices.

        But the truth is important and the criminal justice system worked in this instance.

  9. Please NAACP please explain to me because I do not understand?  Black people (not all) call each other “niggers”.  But if another race calls a person the same name we are called a racist and subject to a hate crime.  I would never do this but it seems ok among others.  We need to correct this as all cultures have bad nick names.  “Chracker” does not make me feel to good either.

    How do we all come together to solve this problem.  We do not riot when anyone other than a person of color is killed by police or other.

    I do not see protests (or very little) if gang on gang in SJ.  Only because the SJ Mayor does not care.  He blames in on pensions when the city general fund has 90 Million+ in reserve.

    AG Holder & President Obama how do you justify paying for posters in the Martin case.  Can I apply for the same funds when a police officer is shot in the line of duty?

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