Will Trayvon Martin's killer George Zimmerman get his gun back after acquittal? 'He needs it more now,' says lawyer

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Neighbourhood watch volunteer expected to remain in hiding while potentially facing civil charges

The man acquitted of murdering unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin will have his gun returned to him and is expected to carry it, say his lawyers.

Volunteer neighbourhood watch member George Zimmerman, 29, was described as having gone through "the worst time" of his life, and his defence attorney Don West told ABC News: "I don't know how he could not carry a gun at this point since he has been lawfully allowed to carry one."

The result of the trial over the 17-year-old's death has sparked angry protests across the US, with thousands of demonstrators bringing Times Square in New York to a standstill on Sunday night chanting: "Justice for Trayvon Martin!"

And speaking about the public displays of outrage, another member of Mr Zimmerman's defence team Mark O'Mara said: "He's been scared for the last 16 months, and with anger like this I think he has reason to be worried."

Jurors were told that Mr Zimmerman was allowed to use deadly force when he used his Kel Tec pistol to shoot the unarmed 17-year-old, not only if he actually faced death or bodily harm, but also if he just thought he did.

When asked by an ABC reporter in a separate interview: "Does he get that gun back?", Mr O'Mara said "Yes, he does." He said he has "even more reason now" to carry one than he did before the fatal shooting.

And the acquitted man's brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr., told CNN: "He's going to be looking over his shoulder the rest of his life."

Mr Zimmerman may still face court action, as Mr Martin's family consider a civil case against him and the Justice Department issued a statement saying it is looking into the possibility of filing criminal civil rights charges.

The NAACP issued an online petition asking for the Department to act to "address the travesties of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin", and it has been signed by nearly 250,000 people.

It is thought that Mr Zimmerman is unlikely to ever return to Florida, and he has been in hiding outside the state since he was released on bail in June 2012.

Friends told Reuters he is nonetheless still considering pursuing a career as a criminal lawyer, and that he "sees it as a potential path forward to help other people like himself" who have been prosecuted "inappropriately".

Meanwhile President Barack Obama called for calm following Sunday night's demonstrations against the acquittal, which took place across the country and saw police using rubber bullets to disperse angry protestors in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

He said: "I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken."

Civil rights leaders have asked for anyone expressing their anger to do so peacefully, and most have complied. The Reverend Jesse Jackson said the legal system had "failed justice", but added that violence is not the answer.

And at London's Wireless festival last night closing act Jay-Z thanked the crowds and added: "Rest in peace, Trayvon Martin." Also performing - in their first show for 20 years - were hip-hop pioneers A Tribe Called Quest, who issued their own call for peace.

"I don't want to be a downer but yesterday in America, we saw a miscarriage of justice," said band member Q-Tip. "It's not the first time this has happened. Pray for us... we need help."

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff
tv

Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Arts and Entertainment
tv

Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
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

Primary teaching jobs in the Swaffham area

£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Are you a fully quali...

Year 1 Teachers needed for day to day roles

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Pr...

Primary General Cover Teachers needed

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Pr...

Year 2 Teachers needed for day to day roles

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Ye...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week