George Zimmerman's Acquittal in Trayvon Martin Murder Trial Provokes Nation to Confront Persistent Racism

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Posted July 24, 2013

Interview with Judith Brown Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project, conducted by Scott Harris


Another chapter in the tragic Feb. 26, 2012 shooting death of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by volunteer neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla., was written with the July 13 jury verdict that acquitted Zimmerman. Many people across the U.S. and the world were stunned by the jury’s decision, given that Zimmerman had been the one to follow the black teenager against police instructions, provoking whatever physical altercation that ensued.

One week after the verdict, protests were organized in more than 100 U.S. cities and towns where thousands of people of all races came together to express their anger over the acquittal and demand federal charges be brought against George Zimmerman for his violation of Martin’s civil rights. Federal prosecutors are now investigating the case, but many legal observers feel that civil rights charges are unlikely.

President Obama weighed in on the outcome of the court case in candid remarks made before the White House press corps on July 19, where he spoke about Martin’s unnecessary death and his own experiences with racial profiling – as he questioned Florida’s "Stand Your Ground" gun law and similar measures adopted in more than 20 states. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Judith Brown Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project, a multi-racial civil rights group, who discusses why the jury verdict in the Trayvon Martin murder trial has provoked many Americans to examine and confront persistent racial prejudice in the nation.

Find more analysis of the Martin case and racial profiling at the Advancement Project at

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