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."

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
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
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

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform