N.Y. Politicians on Zimmerman Verdict: We’re Pissed, Too


On Saturday, a Florida jury shocked the nation by acquitting George Zimmerman of all charges in the shooting death teenager Trayvon Martin. In New York City, politicians and candidates for office made sure voters heard their opinions of the verdict loud and clear.

Mayor Bloomberg used the occasion to criticize Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, the key piece of legislation keeping Zimmerman out of jail.

“Sadly, all the facts in this tragic case will probably never be known. But one fact has long been crystal clear: ‘shoot first’ laws like those in Florida can inspire dangerous vigilantism and protect those who act recklessly with guns,” Bloomberg said in a statement on Sunday. “Such laws–drafted by gun lobby extremists in Washington–encourage deadly confrontations by enabling people to shoot first and argue ‘justifiable homicide’ later.”

The candidates vying for Bloomberg’s job–former Representative Anthony Weiner, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Comptroller John C. Liu, and Erick Salgado–issued their own statements about the verdict on Twitter.

City comptroller candidate and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer added his voice to the calls for justice both on Twitter and at the Union Square rally on Sunday.

Today at 1 p.m., New York Congressmen Gregory Meeks, Hakeem Jeffries, and Charles Rangel will gather outside Manhattan’s federal courthouse and call on the Department of Justice to investigate whether the verdict violates civil rights.

Jeffries and Meeks both issued statements earlier this weekend. Meeks said he was “deeply disappointed” in the jury’s decision, adding, “I hope that our common humanity compels us to say that we cannot be content that a 17 year old youngster, who did nothing wrong–absolutely nothing–will never go home to his family while George Zimmerman is free to go home to his family.”

Jeffries struck a similar tone. “Once again, the court system has failed to deliver justice in a racially-tinged matter that involves the killing of an innocent, unarmed African-American male,” he said in a statement. “The Justice Department must open an immediate investigation to determine if George Zimmerman can be charged with violating our nation’s civil rights laws in the cold-blooded killing of Trayvon Martin.”

Both men repeated those sentiments on Twitter, where they were joined by fellow Congressman Jerry Nadler.