More than a million people signed an online petition demanding Zimmerman’s arrest. The U.S. Justice Department launched an investigation into Martin’s death. The Sanford police chief stepped down, and a special prosecutor was named to handle the case. Six weeks after the shooting, Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder.
The fact that the Zimmerman was eventually acquitted of the charge — and the lesser charge of manslaughter, which the jury also rejected — doesn’t validate the cursory dismissal by law enforcement in February 2012. This case deserved to be examined thoroughly and adjudicated.
As the case moved to trial, many of those who led the campaign stressed that what they demanded was not an outcome but a trial. But many now are bitterly disappointed at the result.
The trial was fair. The evidence came up short. The outrage was that there almost wasn’t a trial at all.