ORLANDO, Florida - The not guilty verdict in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin has reshaped a black civil rights convention in Orlando, Florida where delegates are calling for federal charges following a trial they say failed to serve justice.
The civil rights activists were gathering for the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) just 30 minutes drive from where the murder trial took place when the jury issued its decision on Saturday night.
The verdict by a nearly all-white jury of six women in the trial of former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman reverberated around the country and rocked the convention of 3,000 national, state and local officers and members.
Speeches were hastily re-written, agendas altered and conversation in the halls re-focused.
More than 800,000 people have signed an online petition of the NAACP asking US Attorney General Eric Holder to file civil rights charges against Zimmerman, the association said on Monday.
"It was like an atomic bomb dropped," said Michael Edwards, 55, a union official and NAACP member from St. Louis.
On Tuesday the convention will hear from Holder, who on Monday called the death of Martin, an unarmed black teenager, "unnecessary," raising questions about whether he believed Zimmerman, acted in self-defense.