SANFORD, Fla. -- Late Saturday night, jurors found George Zimmerman not guilty in connection with the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
The announcement came after the jury asked for a clarification on manslaughter and took an hour dinner Friday evening.
"May we please have clarification on the instructions regarding manslaughter," Judge Debra Nelson read from the jurors' note before a courtroom that had rapidly filled up with lawyers, reporters and members of the families of Martin and Zimmerman.
Zimmerman, 29, was charged with second-degree murder but jurors also had the options of finding him guilty of manslaughter or not guilty. He pleaded not guilty, claiming he shot Martin in self-defense.
[Special coverage: George Zimmerman trial]
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People released the following statement on the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the killing of Trayvon Martin:
NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock:
“Today, justice failed Trayvon Martin and his family,” said Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the NAACP. “We call immediately for the Justice Department to conduct an investigation into the civil rights violations committed against Trayvon Martin. This case has re-energized the movement to end racial profiling in the United States.”
NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous:
“We are outraged and heartbroken over today’s verdict,” said Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP. “We stand with Trayvon’s family and we are called to act. We will pursue civil rights charges with the Department of Justice, we will continue to fight for the removal of Stand Your Ground laws in every state, and we will not rest until racial profiling in all its forms is outlawed.”
NAACP Florida State Conference President Adora Obi Nweze:
“We lost a young man due to senseless violence, but justice did not prevail,” said Adora Obi Nweze, President of the Florida NAACP State Conference. “Last year we pushed for the arrest of George Zimmerman and a thorough investigation and trial. Today, we are still called to act. No one should be allowed to use this law to commit a senseless crime again.”