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Trayvon exists in every American city

The acquittal of Trayvon Martin's killer has caused outrage in his Florida community
Last modified: 15 Jul 2013 04:42

Outside the local church in Miami Gardens where Trayvon Martin grew up a parishioner yells out that George Zimmerman is a murderer.

She is one of the only church members that is overtly vocal, for the rest there is a palpable and quiet sadness.

One lady, who tells me only that her name is Rachel, laments that America’s justice system is broken and she like many want to see change.

Another parishioner tells me I would not be standing outside his church if this were a case where an African-American had killed a white man.

"Black man be in jail" he told me. "It's as simple as that."

To say that communities like the one here in south Florida are disappointed and angry would be an understatement, but there is also a steely determination to press on, to not let the death of 17 year old Trayvon Martin be in vain.

For now George Zimmerman is a free man but there are moves to bring him back to court in a civil case.

The US Justice Department is reported to be evaluating whether there is enough evidence to pursue a criminal civil rights case that could put Mr Zimmerman back in court.

It is more than likely that George Zimmerman will now go into hiding as a nation comes to terms with a verdict many view as a gross miscarriage of justice. Despite the strong emotions raised by the case so far nationwide protests have been peaceful.

On Sunday President Obama released a statement calling for a calm and measured response to the verdict.

In it the president called the death of Trayvon Martin a ‘tragedy’ and he went on to ask people to respect the decision made by the jury.

The president did not allude to race despite telling reporters last year that if he had a son "he’d look like Trayvon."

But race is at the centre of this case. Many here simply cannot fathom how an armed man who was told to back off by a police dispatcher was found innocent of killing a teenage boy who was simply walking back to his father’s house.

In the coming days and weeks more protests are bound to follow and most hope they will pass off peacefully.

But one of the observations that has been repeated to me by supporters of the Martin family since the beginning of this case is that there is a Trayvon in every American city, that in many ways the odds were always stacked against this teenager simply because of his colour.