WASHINGTON – The Anti-Defamation League issued a measured statement in response
to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed
black teen Zimmerman killed last year in Florida.
The case attracted
national attention in the United States, as has the verdict, which spurred riots
across the country as well as charges that racial bias has become ingrained in
America’s judicial system. Zimmerman, who shot Martin during a confrontation
while on volunteer community watch, claimed self-defense based on a unique
Florida law that allowed him to “stand his ground” when there is reasonable
belief of an unlawful threat, without an obligation to retreat first.
have great faith in America’s jury system and do not question the verdict in the
Zimmerman case,” ADL’s national director and chairman Barry Curtiss-Lusher and
Abraham Foxman said in the statement.
“However, this case raises serious
questions about the wisdom of standyour- ground laws and the easy access to
concealed weapons permits in states like Florida, where more than one million
permits have been issued since 1987 when the state’s concealed weapons law went
into effect,” they said.
ADL acknowledged the racially charged nature of
the case, though the first juror to speak publicly on the deliberations claims
the subject was never breached when considering Zimmerman’s verdict. Zimmerman
has been accused of racially profiling Martin while on neighborhood
Martin was walking down an alley wearing a hoodie after buying
Skittles candy and a soft drink, and Zimmerman considered him
As an ally of the National Association for the Advancement of
Colored People, ADL can expect pressure to support a NAACP push for a federal
civil rights probe into Zimmerman’s actions.
“We should ask ourselves if
we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many
lives across this country on a daily basis,” US President Barack Obama said,
calling for calm as protests mounted when Saturday’s verdict came
“We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we
can prevent future tragedies like this.”