George Zimmerman trial: Reverend Al Sharpton calls for day of action as Trayvon Martin juror reveals doubts

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Half of all-female jury ‘thought George  Zimmerman was guilty but were talked out of it’

The Reverend Al Sharpton, the veteran civil rights leader, called for a “Justice for Trayvon National Day of Action” on Saturday and said protests had been planned in more than 100 cities across America.

Police in California made several arrests on Monday evening as demonstrations continued against the acquittal of neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin following an altercation in a  gated Florida housing community in February last year. 

The call for action followed the admission by one female juror that three of her fellow members were initially inclined to convict Mr Zimmerman. The woman, known only as Juror B-37, offered a glimpse behind the scenes of the jury’s deliberations in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper . She explained how, after 16 hours of discussion, the six women came to the conclusion that Mr Zimmerman ought to be acquitted of the second-degree murder of 17-year-old Trayvon, whom he claimed to have shot in self-defence.

“There was a couple of them in there that wanted to find him guilty of something,” she said. “And after hours and hours and hours of deliberating over the law, and reading it over and over and over again, we just decided there’s no other way or place to go [but acquittal].”

Juror B-37 is a white, middle-aged chiropractor from Seminole County in Florida, where the shooting and subsequent trial took place. She and her husband, a lawyer, have two grown-up children. In the first poll of the six jurors, she explained, three favoured finding Mr Zimmerman not guilty, two voted for manslaughter and one for second-degree murder. She said that the jury worked hard to reach a verdict and cried over the decision. “I want people to know that we put everything into it,” she said. “We thought about it over and over.”

Finally, however, they could find Mr Zimmerman guilty of nothing but poor judgement. The neighbourhood watch volunteer followed Trayvon on the night of the killing in February 2012, apparently believing him to be a criminal; the two had an altercation, which ended with Mr Zimmerman shooting Trayvon in the chest. “George Zimmerman is a man whose heart was in the right place, but just got displaced by the vandalism in the neighbourhood and wanting to catch these people so badly that he went above and beyond what he really should have done,” the juror said. “He had a right to defend himself. I think Trayvon got mad and attacked him.”

On one crucial point, she said most of the six jurors believed it was Mr Zimmerman who could be heard calling for help in the background of a recorded 911 emergency call.

Civil rights activists have urged the Department of Justice to investigate the killing as a racially motivated hate crime. But Juror B-37 told Cooper that the panel, five of whom were white, did not believe that race was a factor.

Meanwhile, the singer Stevie Wonder announced during a concert on Sunday that he would not perform in Florida until the state’s  Stand Your Ground law – which allows people to use  deadly force if they believe their life is in danger – is  abolished.

News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup