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.

Life & Style
Sampling wine in Turin
food + drink...and abstaining may be worse than drinking too much, says scientist
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Sport
Jose Mourinho restrains his assistant manager Rui Faria, Fabio Borini celebrates his winning penalty and Connor Wickham equalises for Sunderland
sportChelsea 1 Sunderland 2: Deafeat is extra bitter as former Chelsea player Fabio Borini scores late penalty to seal victory
Arts & Entertainment
Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin has been working on the novels since the mid-Nineties
books
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Easter a dangerous time for dogs
these are the new ones. Old ones are below them... news
News
Brand said he
people
Sport
Roger Federer celebrates his victory over Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters
sport
Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
Arts & Entertainment
The monster rears its head as it roars into the sky
film
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
Extras
indybestFake it with 10 best self-tanners
Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
News
peopleOrlando Bloom the pin-up hero is making a fresh start
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit