George Zimmerman verdict: Protesters march in downtown Cincinnati Monday
'Justice for Trayvon' rally planned Saturday
WCPO Digital Staff , Associated Press
10:45 AM, Jul 15, 2013
5:35 AM, Jul 16, 2013
While Tri-Staters sounded off on radio talks shows, dozens of people marched downtown Monday evening to protest the George Zimmerman verdict, with plans for a large rally on Saturday.
About 50 or 60 protesters chanted, "The people united will not be defeated," as they marched east on Fifth Street to the federal building, 9 On Your Side's Natasha Williams reported.
Some carried signs with the words, "No Justice, No Peace."
Others planned to demonstrate at the public library at Eighth & Vine.
The local National Action Network is organizing a demonstration at noon Saturday at the federal building at 550 Main St. NAN founder Rev. Al Sharpton is calling for a "Justice for Trayvon National Day of Action" on Saturday and says demonstrations are planned in more than 100 cities nationwide.
Sharpton is organizing prayer vigils and rallies at federal court buildings to press the Justice Department to bring a civil rights case against Zimmerman. Hundreds of thousands of people have signed the NAACP's online petition.
Meanwhile, Tri-Staters sounded off on the radio about the Florida jury's verdict that cleared Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, in the shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin.
Phones were ringing off the hook at WDBZ The Buzz and 700 WLW with callers who wanted to be heard, 9 On Your Side's Jay Warren reported.
"Even a wimp with a gun will have confidence," said talk-shot host Lincoln Ware on The Buzz.
Ware's callers expressed a profound lack of faith in the criminal justice system.
"Would you agree that right now we have seen how ugly the system works against us?" a caller said.
Bill Cunningham at 700 WLW was talking to a different audience.
"If Zimmerman had not had a gun, he would have been pounded into the concrete and Zimmerman would have been dead or permanently disabled," Cunningham said.
"If Trayvon Martin was white as chalk pounding on George Zimmerman, do you think George would have said, ‘No, wait a minute, this guy looks to be white, I'll let him beat me up?"
Cincinnati city council member P.J. Sittenfeld told Cunningham, "Whether you are black, white, brown, purple, pink, I want to keep everybody safe because everyone is entitled to that as a resident of the city of Cincinnati and frankly as an American citizen in this country, safety is a foremost promise, so on that point we agree, Willie."
Sharpton has called for peaceful demonstrations, saying any violence would mar Martin's name.
Largely peaceful rallies were held Sunday in cities across the country. Police in Los Angeles said they arrested six people, mostly for failure to disperse, after about 80 protesters gathered in Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard and an unlawful assembly was declared. New York police said at least a dozen people were arrested on disorderly conduct charges during a rally in Times Square.
Sunday's demonstrations attracted anywhere from a few dozen people to a more than a thousand.
At a march and rally in downtown Chicago attended by about 200 people, 73-year-old Maya Miller said the case reminded her of the 1955 slaying of Emmitt Till, a 14-year-old from Chicago who was murdered by a group of white men while visiting Mississippi. Till's killing galvanized the civil rights movement.
"Fifty-eight years and nothing's changed," Miller said, pausing to join a chant for "Justice for Trayvon, not one more."
In New York City, more than 1,000 people marched into Times Square on Sunday night, zigzagging through Manhattan streets to avoid police lines. Sign-carrying marchers thronged the busy intersection, chanting "Justice for Trayvon Martin!" as they made their way from downtown Union Square, blocking traffic for more than an hour.
Earlier, at Manhattan's Middle Collegiate Church, many congregants wore hooded sweatshirts similar to the one Martin was wearing the night he was shot. Hoodie-clad Jessica Nacinovich said she could only feel disappointment and sadness over the verdict.
"I'm sure jurors did what they felt was right in accordance with the law but maybe the law is wrong, maybe society is wrong; there's a lot that needs fixing," she said.
Protesters also gathered in Atlanta, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., along with a host of other cities.
In Miami, more than 200 people gathered. "You can't justify murder," read one poster. Another read: "Don't worry about more riots. Worry about more Zimmermans."