Hundreds gather in Pittsburgh to protest acquittal in Trayvon Martin case
More than 200 people gathered in the Hill District and Shadyside on Sunday to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin as anger over the Florida jury verdict spread to cities nationwide.
“It could have been anybody, black or white,” Rahim Jones, 42, of East Liberty said about the racially charged killing in February 2012 and Saturday's verdict. Jones was among about 75 people who gathered at Mellon Park about 3 p.m. to plan a larger rally that began three hours later at Freedom Corner in the Hill District.
Demonstrators remained in the street near the historic corner until shortly after 11 p.m., when the final two dozen left. Pittsburgh police initially threatened to arrest people who blocked traffic, then allowed dozens to remain on Centre Avenue.
“We don't want to be the city that comes off disrespecting (Martin's) memory,” said Cmdr. RaShall Brackney, who knelt in the street and spoke quietly to protesters who were screaming and saying they would not leave.
Protester Bekezela Mguni, 28, of Wilkinsburg said the organizers plan another event for Wednesday at the Allegheny County Courthouse, Downtown.
Zimmerman, 29, a neighborhood watch volunteer, said he shot Martin, 17, in self-defense. Because Martin was black and unarmed, many people said during demonstrations since the acquittal that the jury's decision shows racism remains a problem.
“America has not grown at all,” said Anastasia Carrington-Peterson, 16, of Beltzhoover. “We have not gotten anywhere we think we have.”
The crowd at Freedom Corner, which included a mix of races, carried signs and chanted, “I am Trayvon Martin.”
“The system is not working,” said Myra Kiselova, 28, of Garfield. “It's clearly not working. It's dividing us.”
Organizers said they wanted the rally to unite people.
Across the state, about 700 people marched peacefully through Center City Philadelphia, chanting Martin's name as they walked from Love Park to the Liberty Bell and back. It was a scene repeated in dozens of cities.
At Manhattan's Middle Collegiate Church, many congregants wore hooded sweatshirts — the same thing Martin was wearing the night he was shot. Hoodie-clad Jessica Nacinovich said she could only feel disappointment and sadness about the verdict.
“I'm sure jurors did what they felt was right in accordance with the law, but maybe the law is wrong, maybe society is wrong. There's a lot that needs fixing,” she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Polamalu made 1st-time captain; Roethlisberger named for offense
- Pirates notebook: Sanchez returns to Bucs in offensive slump
- Family of Children’s Hospital transplant baby urges feds to change cochlear implants policy
- Steelers receiver Heyward-Bey looks to make most of chance
- Steelers know fast start could be key to upcoming season
- Pitt notebook: Panthers defense responds to questions with shutout
- Steelers formalize practice squad
- On border of Westmoreland, Fayette, Jacobs Creek section is sacred spot
- Drownings surge in Pennsylvania over past 2 years
- Scientists dismiss dire outlook for Western Pennsylvania winter weather
- Police officer in Fayette County charged in apparent domestic dispute