Chicago radio listeners express outrage, anger over Zimmerman verdict

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Angered by the “not guilty” verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial, about 150 people staged a protest at Daley Plaza Sunday.

The verdict is still a hot topic on the radio Monday and callers demand justice for Trayvon Martin.

At WVON radio, an African-American radio station, hosts are encouraging listeners to sign an online petition demanding the United States Department of Justice file federal civil charges against Zimmerman.

WVON is dedicating the entire day to this topic.  There has been no shortage of callers, or opinions.

“I was astounded that the verdict was ‘not guilty’ and astounded that it came back that quickly,” said WVON host Salim Mukakil.

“It is outrageous to think that African American life is so dispensable like this,” said director of the Washington bureau of the NAACP, Hilary O. Shelton.

Anger and outrage are two of the most common feelings being expressed by callers.

Shelton called Florida’s self-defense laws one of the most reckless in the nation, because it bases guilt or innocence on whether a person felt their life was in danger.

“Unfortunately, with the dynamic of race in our country, too often African Americans that simply walk into a room are viewed as being threatening,” said Shelton.  “So we knew it was going to be a heavy burden.  I think we were all very prayerful and very hopeful that justice would be served but clearly that was not the case.”

One caller called for a ban of the “Sunshine State” until it changes what he calls flawed public policy, “that’s the only justice we can get is economic justice at this point, so black folks need to stay out of Orlando and boycott Florida.”

WVON host Matt McGill downplayed concerns of mass rioting in light of the verdict saying those concerns may have been mostly spurred by the media.  “I think what you’re going to see around Chicago and the rest of the country are peaceful protests and a well-thought-out strategy on how to move forward beyond the George Zimmerman verdict, because all of the issues that affect the African American community right now are at critical mode.”

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is scheduled to speak to the NAACP Convention Tuesday in Orlando, Florida.

He is expected to face tough questions about whether Zimmerman may still face federal charges.


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