Zimmerman verdict protesters march in downtown Houston

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by Sherry Williams/ KHOU 11 News/ Associated Press

khou.com

Posted on July 16, 2013 at 6:26 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 16 at 6:28 PM

HOUSTON—About 150 protesters unhappy with the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial marched Tuesday in downtown Houston.

The march started at the Harris County Criminal Courthouse at noon.  There was a heavy police presence with Houston Police Department officers on horseback, bicycle and foot.

Upon crossing the street at the Harris County Criminal Courthouse there was a minor brush with a mounted patrol officer.  He told them to stop for the light but their leader told them to keep going and one person bumped into his horse. 

From there, the group marched to the federal courthouse chanting “No justice, no peace” and “can’t take no more.”

When the entire group was not let into the federal courthouse and some people beat on the glass. One man tried to rush the door, but other marchers restrained him. Afterward he started wailing. Folks in the crowd said police killed his father.  The other marchers calmed him down.

After leaving the federal courthouse they moved on to Houston City Hall.

At some intersections the protestors stopped traffic as officers looked on. Drivers were patient with the demonstrators.

“We know how to stop traffic. We did it last night. Y’all help us,” one man said, referring to Monday night when hundreds of protestors took to the streets of Third Ward and blocked traffic on Highway 288.          

When the group marched to Houston City Hall Monday they disrupted a council session and two women were detained by police officers, but later released.

Quanell X said the group will march on River Oaks Sunday because he calls it the Sanford, Florida of Houston.

Meanwhile, the Rev. Al Sharpton announced Tuesday that he will lead a national “Justice for Trayvon” day in 100 cities this weekend to press for federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman’s acquittal over the weekend in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin has touched off protests around the country. The Justice Department is investigating whether Zimmerman violated Martin’s civil rights when he shot the 17-year-old during a February 2012 confrontation in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman said he fired his gun in self-defense.

“People all across the country will gather to show that we are not having a two- or three-day anger fit. This is a social movement for justice,” Sharpton said as he announced the plan outside the Justice Department with several ministers.

The rallies and vigils will occur in front of federal court buildings at noon Saturday in cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and New York.

Sharpton admits there are possible legal hurdles, but says “there is also a blatant civil rights question of does Trayvon Martin and the Trayvon Martins of this country have the civil right to go home.”

Sharpton says vigils will be followed by a conference next week in Miami to develop a plan to address Florida’s “stand-your-ground” law. The law gives people wide latitude to use deadly force if they fear death or bodily harm.

A six-member jury acquitted Zimmerman of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.

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