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Trayvon Martin family may sue George Zimmerman in civil court

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Updated: 7/14/2013 10:35 pm
SANFORD, Fla. -- George Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, told WFTV his client "still has to live in hiding" despite being acquitted of second-degree murder Saturday night.

Zimmerman emerged from the Seminole County courthouse a free man late Saturday night, cleared of all charges in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Speaking live on WFTV's 'Central Florida Spotlight' on Sunday, O'Mara said it will take time for Zimmerman to adjust to life as a free man.

"We are right now after a 16-month traumatic event for my client, so he gets a little time to relax," O'Mara said.

Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie, had been living "like a hermit" since the shooting and weren't working because they feared for their safety, O'Mara said before the trial.

"He feels much better having this behind him, he just doesn't know what his future holds and how he's going to deal with that,'" O'Mara said.

With many critics angry over his acquittal, Zimmerman's freedom will likely be limited.  Protests and rallies were planned around the country on Sunday, a day after the verdict was handed down.

Martin family attorney, Benjamin Crump, said Sunday that the family is not ruling out the possibility of filing a civil lawsuit against Zimmerman.

"They're going to certainly look at that as an option. They deeply want a sense of justice. They deeply don't want their son's death to be in vain," Crump said.

Minutes after the verdict was read, Tracy Martin sent out several Tweets.

One said, "Even though I am broken-hearted my faith is unshattered. I will always love my baby Tray. Thanks to everyone who are with us and who will be with us. We together can make sure that this doesn't happen again."

Crump acknowledged the disappointment of Trayvon Martin's supporters, ranking the teen alongside civil rights heroes Medgar Evers and Emmett Till in the history of the fight for equal justice. However, Crump said, "for Trayvon to rest in peace, we must all be peaceful."

Demonstrators upset with the verdict protested mostly peacefully in Florida, Milwaukee and Atlanta overnight, but some broke windows and vandalized a police squad car in Oakland during protests in four California cities, authorities said.

"He's going to be looking over his shoulder the rest of his life," Robert Zimmerman Jr. said during an interview on CNN.

Martin's killing in February 2012 unleashed debate across the U.S. over racial profiling, self-defense and equal justice. Protesters across the country lashed out against police in the Orlando suburb of Sanford as it took 44 days for Zimmerman to be arrested. Many, including Martin's parents, said Zimmerman had racially profiled the unarmed black teen. Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic.

Six anonymous female jurors -- all but one of them white -- considered nearly three weeks of often wildly conflicting testimony over who was the aggressor on the rainy night the 17-year-old was shot while walking through the gated townhouse community where he was staying and where Zimmerman lived.

Jurors deliberated more than 15 hours over two days before announcing late Saturday night that they had reached a verdict.

After Saturday's verdict, police, officials and civil rights leaders urged peace and told protesters not to resort to violence. While defense attorneys said they were thrilled with the outcome, O'Mara suggested Zimmerman's safety would be an ongoing concern.

"There still is a fringe element that wants revenge," O'Mara said. "They won't listen to a verdict of not guilty."

Andrew Perkins, 55, a black resident of Sanford, angrily asked outside the courthouse: "How the hell did they find him not guilty?"

"He killed somebody and got away with murder," Perkins shouted, so angry he shook, looking toward the courthouse.

Trayvon Martin's brother, Jahvaris Fulton, said on Twitter: "Et tu America?" -- a reference to the Latin phrase "Et tu, Brute?" known as an expression of betrayal.

Martin's family has maintained the teen was not the aggressor, and prosecutors suggested Martin was scared because he was being followed by a stranger. Defense attorneys, however, said Martin knocked Zimmerman down and was slamming the older man's head against the concrete sidewalk when Zimmerman fired his gun.

During the trial, prosecutors called Zimmerman a liar and portrayed him as a "wannabe cop" vigilante who had grown frustrated by break-ins in his neighborhood committed primarily by young black men. Zimmerman assumed Martin was up to no good and took the law into his own hands, prosecutors said.

State Attorney Angela Corey said after the verdict that she believed second-degree murder was the appropriate charge because Zimmerman's mindset "fit the bill of second-degree murder."

"We charged what we believed we could prove," Corey said.

Zimmerman also had some supporters outside the courthouse, including Cindy Lenzen, 50, of Casslebury, and her brother, 52-year-old Chris Bay, who stood watching others chant slogans such as, "the whole system's guilty."

Lenzen and Bay -- who are white -- called the entire case "a tragedy," especially for Zimmerman.

"It's a tragedy that he's going to suffer for the rest of his life," Bay said. "No one wins either way. This is going to be a recurring nightmare in his mind every night."

Despite the racially charged nature of the case, race was barely mentioned at the trial.

"This case has never been about race or the right to bear arms," Corey said. "We believe this case all along was about boundaries, and George Zimmerman exceeded those boundaries."

One of the few mentions of race came from witness Rachel Jeantel, the Miami teen who was talking to Martin by phone moments before he was shot. She testified that he described being followed by a "creepy-ass cracker" as he walked through the neighborhood.

Jeantel gave some of the trial's most riveting testimony. She said she overheard Martin demand, "What are you following me for?" and then yell, "Get off! Get off!" before his cellphone went dead.

[Special coverage: George Zimmerman trial]

The jurors had to sort out clashing testimony from 56 witnesses in all, including police, neighbors, friends and family members.

O'Mara said Sunday that at some point, the public will hear from George Zimmerman himself.

"On his terms, at his time, when he's ready, absolutely he'll talk," O'Mara said.
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Terri75 - 9/9/2013 3:39 PM
0 Votes
Zimmerman should counter sue the kid was a thug and his parents did not discipline him now they are trying to become millionaires off of him disgusting and disgraceful.

dixiegirl2261 - 7/19/2013 11:59 PM
1 Vote
never heard so much about something in my life. so much didn't come up in court- the kid (he was called) out late at nite by him self, IF GEORGE HAD ATTACKED HIM HE WOULD HAVE HAD A MARK ON HIM ( the state would have brought that up) from autopsy report, the can of tea is a weapon. I don't know anyone that would lay there and let someone beat there heads in. GZ lived there to so they both had a right to be walk- so one can turn around an attack (tell someone to nights the night you die) an if it had happened like that, the other way around. YOU WOULD HAVE NEVER HEARD ANYTHING ABOUT THIS. I raised 5 boys they never got suspended from school, an they were never out past 12 o'clock nothing to get in to then but TROUBLE.

whosaysnocan - 7/15/2013 5:54 PM
1 Vote
What legal bills did the Martins have? The state paid for the prosecution of Zimmerman. As for "the average" student statement, um, that usually do not get suspended. The kid NEVER had criminal record~it was only 17! I am not a "fan" of either of these people. Each made mistakes. The "adult" made the worse of decisions when he sought out the kid. The kid for not just going home. I know some will cheer about this~I am done commenting on this. Enough already.

sinking - 7/15/2013 3:55 PM
1 Vote
FYI, if any of you posting on here had bothered to do your research, the suit against the gated community by the Martins went mainly to pay their legal bills. So they hardly made any money, as you fools are claiming. As far as I'm concerned, Zimmerman basically got away with not having to take responsibility for Martin's death. As for Martin being a so-called "thug", how does talking trash on a Facebook account to impress his friends (like a LOT of teens do---just take a look at it sometimes) make him a "thug"? The reality, which Zimmerman supporters always conveniently overlook, is that Martin NEVER had a criminal record of any kind, and hadn't done anything that the average teen hasn't already done in high school at some point. Meanwhile Zimmerman has a record going back 10 years that includes not one, but TWO assaults on two police officers, was arrested for domestic violence,with a restraining order slapped on him by an ex,and he also got fired from a security guard position by slamming a woman down so hard on the ground that her ankle broke. He also had a complaint filed against him by a co-worker who accused him of serious racial harassment on the job. Funny how none of this came out in the trial, but Martin still gets painted as a thug---yeah,right. I wouldn't be surprised if Georgie boy's daddy (a former magistrate) pulled some strings to help get him off, just like he probably did with the police matters. I mean, how the hell do you get off not being charged with assault of a police officer (which is a felony in Florida, I might add?) GZ sounds like a spoiled bully used to getting his own way and getting out of scrapes his whole life since he's always had daddy to bail him out, and sadly, this whole situation with Martin is just another example of that.

RiverRat - 7/15/2013 1:22 PM
1 Vote
Mo money

hammy - 7/15/2013 9:12 AM
0 Votes
I don't care what you think about Trayvon,or what you say about him,I wouldn't care if he we're white,black or purple,he had the right to walk down that(USA)street the same as you, me, or anyone else,and without Zimmerman stalking him,that's the one and only issue anybody should be concerned with,you say the Martin's still aren't happy, well Zimmerman is a MOLESTER,a liar,and murderer,but if he was shot down today or tomorrow, wouldn't you people try moving heaven and earth to prove who did it???

whosaysnocan - 7/15/2013 6:56 AM
1 Vote
Of course these people WILL sue Zimmerman. Not that they will get anything, but this will keep their names and the case in the news. I have a suggestion for this family and those that are angry and protesting the verdict, DO SOMETHING! Step up get involved with the problems of the community that is breeding the lifestyle that is bringing about episodes such as this. Enough with the "PC" concerns of stepping around the "elephant in the room." It is the criminal/thug/wannabe element of the black community that continues to fall back on oppression, lack of opportunities, complaining, having children without a job or means to support it other than the social services that are supposed to be help out not give lifelong, generational livelihood. And before I hear that I am a racist, or whatever, Far from it. I may be causation, but I grew up as the outsider, not "expected" to amount to anything, abused, neglected push around, but ya know what, I pulled my self up & out of it. It comes down to choices and it is hard WORK to get out. My 3 siblings did the same. Just look at the daily news and what is in the headlines? All cultures have their criminal element, but one just has to look around and see just whom it is. There has been so much time and government dollars spent to better the life of several generations, yet there is little to no change. Yes, Trayvon's father lived in decent area, with his girlfriend, probably is her place. The kid was reportedly there cause he was removed for school for disciplinary reasons. Personally, if my kid at 17 was tossed from school, it sure would not be going to the store at night and sure would not have a cell phone. I am so frustrated and angry with this entire case. Both sides made their share of mistakes. From Zimmerman not standing down when told to, to the kid's reaction to fight vice walking home to his Dad for help.

Realchange - 7/15/2013 3:47 AM
2 Votes
After Martin's cell phone texts came to light and his school record you would think they might admit their son was a criminal and lose cannon. Yet they still want people to think of him as the 12 year old he is pictured as. Not the 17 year old 5ft 11 man. Please news do report fully on his texts and show them to the world. Wanting to buy street guns, commenting a boy he had beat the hell out of had not bled enough yet for snitching on him, how he loved to smoke pot constantly, his school record is even worse. Yet the Martins and their supporters insist he was good kid. Please define good how was he good with his past so fresh and obvious?

wishmistress - 7/15/2013 1:11 AM
1 Vote
Wow...there's a shocker.
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