By: Lanetra Bennett
July 15, 2013
Tallahassee, FL - The local NAACP chapter says the 'not guilty' verdict should not be the last word.
The president of the Tallahassee Chapter of the NAACP, Dale Landry, says he was disappointed by George Zimmerman's acquittal.
"As it relates to justice, yes, I was."
The Tallahassee Chapter is joining the state and national chapters in asking the U.S. Justice Department to file civil charges against Zimmerman.
Landry says, "Because, that's simple, Trayvon Martin's civil rights were violated by the taking of his life. We all have a constitutional right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They took his life."
Since Saturday, nearly 300,000 people have signed a petition started by the NAACP on MoveOn.org calling on the Department of Justice to open a civil rights case.
Landry says federal officials are already reviewing the case.
Tallahassee City Commissioner Andrew Gillum says he is working with Landry to host a town hall meeting.
Gillum says, "There's still a lot of unease. You still have a number of parents, of mothers who are saying what does this mean for my child. How does this verdict now color any future situation."
Landry and Gillum say the town hall will be an educational vehicle as well as a forum to express concerns in a constructive way.
The Theme is "Come and Let us Reason Together."
Gillum says that's exactly what he'd like for community members and leaders to do in regards to the George Zimmerman verdict and concerns surrounding Trayvon Martin's death.
He says, "Discuss our fears, discuss some of the biases that might exist and surface them so that we don't become a community that confronts this problem when a young kid is dead."
The meeting is scheduled for next Monday, July 22, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the auditorium at Godby High School in Tallahassee.
Gillum says he wants the community to deal with issues surrounding the Zimmerman trial with a determined and loving approach, rather than from a place of despair and discomfort.