Democratic lawmakers took to social media to express their dismay at a Florida jury’s acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, with many calling for the Justice Department to weigh federal charges.


Illinois Rep. Robin Kelly (D) said she was “outraged at the injustice that set George Zimmerman free,” in a statement on Facebook.

“A young boy is dead and a family is shattered. That he was not held accountable for that is "unconscionable," wrote Kelly. “My heart goes out to the Martin family. I'll keep the family in my prayers as well as others like them who are a little more fearful for their sons tonight.”

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Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman, was found not guilty of second degree murder and manslaughter charges Saturday night in the shooting death of Martin, an unarmed black teenager.

The shooting attracted national attention and sparked renewed debate about racial profiling and gun laws. 

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) said his thoughts were with the family of Martin and he hoped the verdict would bring more open debate about the harm from racial profiling.

New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D) called the death a “senseless tragedy” and said he supported the Justice Department’s decision to investigate the shooting.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) retweeted a message from NAACP President Ben Jealous, calling for the DOJ to pursue federal charges against Zimmerman.

Zimmerman saw Martin walking through a gated community in Sanford, Fla., and suspecting he was an intruder, followed him, leading to a confrontation.

Zimmerman said he was acting in self-defense after being attacked, but waived that defense under the stand your ground law, which allows the use of deadly force in some cases.


President Obama waded into the controversy shortly after the shooting, saying that if he “had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) took to the House floor in March to speak about the shooting, wearing a hoodie similar to the one Martin wore when he was killed.

“Racial profiling has to stop,” Rush said. “Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum.”