Rev. Al Sharpton announces 'Justice for Trayvon' rallies, calls - New York News

Rev. Al Sharpton announces 'Justice for Trayvon' rallies, calls for peaceful demonstrations

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WASHINGTON -

Al Sharpton, surrounded by a group of other ministers, gathered at the U.S. Justice Department Tuesday to announce a national effort to pressure that agency into opening a civil rights prosecution involving the death of teenager Trayvon Martin.

The ministers plan non-violent prayer vigils and demonstrations at federal buildings in 100 different American cities on Saturday.

Martin was shot to death by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman in Florida. On Saturday, a six-person jury acquitted Zimmerman of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.

"Who's next? Will it be your child?" asked the Rev. J. Beecher Hicks, Jr. of D.C.'s Metropolitan Baptist Church. "Will it be my child? Who's next?"

The ministers are hoping the U.S. Department of Justice will prosecute Zimmerman.

"There is ... a blatant civil rights question of: does Trayvon Martin (and Trayvon Martins of this country) have the civil right to go home?" thundered Sharpton at a podium in front of the Justice Department.

Some legal scholars are doubtful that a federal civil rights case would succeed. John Malcolm, a scholar at the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation, told us: "They would not only need to prove that Mr. Zimmerman created murder, but that he did so to deprive Trayvon Martin of a civil right and that he was motivated by racial animus. There's frightfully little evidence in the record so far that indicates that Mr. Zimmerman was racist."

The ministers believe there is evidence of a racial animus on the part of the shooter.

"Out of the multiple phone calls that Mr. Zimmerman made identifying suspects, people [who were] 'suspicious,' they were all black," pointed out Sharpton. "Clearly when he said on the tape, 'They always get away.' Who is 'they'? And 'get away' with what?"

Sharpton also announced a national campaign to repeal "stand your ground" laws, starting in Florida, and then extending the movement to other states which have similar statutes.

One of the demonstrations scheduled for Saturday will take place in D.C., said a spokeswoman for the National Action Network. The spokeswoman added the time and place of the rally will likely be announced on Wednesday.

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