The minute jurors revealed their decision that George Zimmerman was not guilty on all charges in the killing of Trayvon Martin, a firestorm of comments and criticism spread on social media.
People from all walks of life, including celebrities, politicians, and athletes, weighed in Saturday evening after a six-woman jury spent more than 15 hours deliberating and reached an innocent verdict on counts of second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Jose Vargas, the journalist who has become famous for speaking out on the term "illegal immigrant," wrote that Martin's death "and Zimmerman acquittal is not Black v. White issue. It's Black, White, Asian, Latino issue--an American tragedy."
Trayvon's death and Zimmerman acquittal is not Black v. White issue. It's Black, White, Asian, Latino issue--an American tragedy
— Jose Antonio Vargas (@joseiswriting) July 14, 2013
Another Latino, blogger Efrain Nieves, piped in on Twitter too, saying now he's “afraid to send my teenage son to the store by himself in fear of him being killed by some racist!"
— Efrain Nieves (@efrain_nieves) July 14, 2013
Geraldo Rivera, who last year wrote in a controversial column for Fox News Latino that “his hoodie killed Trayvon Martin as surely as George Zimmerman did,” did not shy away from commenting on the verdict.
“The Zimmerman acquittal was expected by all who follow me,” Rivera tweeted. “What we need now is to tell politicians to keep hands off the justice system.”
Rivera added: “George Zimmerman is not innocent. He is not guilty. He can still be sued by the Martin family like OJ was sued by the Goldman family.”
Rivera urged the public to focus on the lingering societal problems the Zimmerman case had brought to light.
Trayvon's death was a terrible tragedy-But why not direct outrage at a far more common injustice: our children of color killing each other?
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) July 14, 2013
Some of the most extreme comments on Twitter came from well-known athletes.
New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz wrote: “Thoroughly confused. Zimmerman doesn’t last a year before the hood catches up with him.”
However, just minutes after he sent out that tweet, Cruz apparently recanted– the tweet was promptly deleted.
But it was Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White whose particularly violent comments shocked many.
First White wrote:“ F***ing Zimmerman got away with murder today wow what kind of world do we live in.” Then he followed it up with this tweet, “All them jurors should go home tonight and kill themselves for letting a grown man get away with killing a kid.”
All them jurors should go home tonight and kill themselves for letting a grown man get away with killing a kid
— Roddy White (@roddywhiteTV) July 14, 2013
That comment, retweeted over 3,000 times, was deluged with criticism that eventually led the NFL player to apologize.
“I understand my tweet last nite was extreme,” White wrote Sunday morning. “I never meant for the people to do that. I was shocked and upset about the verdict. I am sorry.”
After Fox News Latino shared the news of the verdict on social media, readers had reactions of their own.
Facebook user Noguera Frank wrote on the Fox News Latino page that it is a "fact" there would have been no "call for justice,” if "Martin was white and Zimmerman black."
One commentator, Rey Flores, wrote: “Jury did a great job. Despite mainstream media race baiting... justice was served.”
Another, Nicolas Villa , pointed out, “Remember this was an attack against latinos too, not just ‘anglos.’”
Many others seemed to agree with this offering from Beatriz Macia: “No one won in this trial. And sadly, this is probably not the end of it.”
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